Tim Brewster has been called "Brother Tim" and "Rev. Brewster" for the football sermons he has preached to fans and media since Jan. 17 when he was hired to replace Glen Mason as head football coach at the University of Minnesota.
Brewster reminds many fans of former Gophers coach Jim Wacker (may he rest in peace). Wacker, one of the most respected people on the planet, announced when he was hired that his "corpuscles are jumping" and his "heart is pumping."
Wacker's only downfall was winning. He didn't. His record was 16-39 (.291) when he resigned after five seasons.
Time will tell if Brewster is a Wacker clone but in the estimation of Brainerd Warriors head coach Ron Stolski, executive director of the Minnesota State Football Coaches Association, Brewster and Wacker couldn't be more different.
Brewster has met with Stolski and the coaches association and Stolski believes it's not fair to compare Brewster to Wacker.
"If you look at their respective experience, Brewster comes from major league programs where his stated reason for coaching, at Texas and North Carolina and in the pros, was to learn more and get better," Stolski said.
"Wacker had been a head coach at Division I and II schools," Stolski added. "Wacker was very appealing, but I don't think the comparison, although it's tempting because Brewster does talk fast and with great enthusiasm, in terms of background is the same."
Wacker won at Texas Lutheran, North Dakota State, Southwest Texas State and Texas Christian before coming to Minnesota. Brewster was an assistant at North Carolina and Texas for 13 years under Mack Brown and spent the last five in the NFL at San Diego and Denver.
"Even though I liked and respected Jim Wacker a lot, and almost everyone who ever met him did, I have a sense that Brewster is more grounded," Stolski said. "I don't know that for sure but we'll see.
"Brewster's convinced he can win with Minnesota kids but, obviously, you have to recruit outside. When he was at North Carolina at one time they were ranked fourth in the nation and he said 20 of the 22 starters were from North Carolina. In his words, he believes Minnesota kids can play football as well as the kids in North Carolina.
"I think that's what refreshing to all of us, the fact he is going to work hard, and that's not to say previous regimes did not because that's not fair to them. I think Brewster's goal of creating a Gopher culture is one we've all been seeking. And, when I say all I don't mean just coaches. I mean communities."
Stolski believes fans will embrace Brewster because of his tireless work ethic, which Minnesotans are accustomed to and appreciate.
"He also has a sense about him that he's not a flim-flam man," Stolski said. "He means what he says, says what he means.
"One of the things he told our association is he really does desire to close the borders to Minnesota kids. He truly believes he can succeed with Minnesota kids. He wants to create a culture where it's difficult for Minnesota athletes to decide to go somewhere else. Frankly, he asked for high school coaches help. He said, I need your help on this.'"
Brewster has pledged that he or an assistant will visit every high school in Minnesota this spring, realizing there's probably not a Division I player in each school, but the Gophers want a presence they probably haven't had since Lou Holtz was head coach in 1984-85.
Brewster will have an opportunity to meet the coaches association March 2-4 at its clinic in the Twin Cities.
"We don't require that he has reached out like he has because we're all aware of how busy he is with recruiting, planning spring practice, but he's done it," Stolski said. "He hasn't sent a messenger. He is the messenger. It's very refreshing."
Mike Bialka, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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