Gwinn, Mich. (WJMN) – Offseason weightlifting and conditioning are important for football players as they look to get their bodies ready for a grueling season.
The Gwinn Modeltowners are hard at work as they look to not only rebound from an underwhelming year, but also honor the man that helped turnaround their program.
It took Dion Brown just two short years to turnaround the struggling Gwinn football program when he was hired in 2014. His leadership and energy gave the program new life and gave the community hope. Brown passed away suddenly last January, but his impact on the program can still be felt.
“We’re just continuing what coach Brown always did. You know, he was always here Monday through Friday, then we would weight lift for an hour then they would come onto the field for an hour and condition. It’s just continuing to do that normal thing that coach brown kind of instilled in us and to keep it as normal as we can for them too. We’re just trying to get bigger, faster, and stronger. That was always coach Brown’s mantra was bigger, faster, stronger and that’s what we’re trying to do. So, that when the season rolls around we’re prepared we’re ready, ” said Ben Olsen, the interim head coach for the Gwinn Modeltowners.
“Everybody being here kind of shows what he did for us. He put a lot of work ethic in us. You know, kids that didn’t want to work out are here now because it’s a completely different season. You know, the season isn’t just about wins and losses. This is for him. It’s a season for him,” said Mastin Love, a senior cornerback for Gwinn.
“It’s bigger than all of us. This isn’t just, it’s not one person. It’s a team. We have to be together. Dion did so many great things for our community, for our team. I feel like he brought us all closer together and we just have to bond and honor him,” added Reid hill, a senior offensive tackle and defensive end for the Modeltowners.
It wasn’t just brown’s commitment on the field that made him so special. He was just as dedicated away from football completely investing himself into the Gwinn community.
“He actually moved into Gwinn. There’s not a lot of people that actually move into Gwinn, invest in this community. You know, he lived right down the road from me. We were almost neighbors, you know, so I think he was totally bought into this community, these people, these kids. And then anything that anybody needed outside of football. I mean, he’s shoveling snow off of people’s roofs, he’s cutting wood for the elderly, we helped an elderly person move,” said Olsen.
Brown’s relationship with his players also ran deeper than just coach to player.
“Just how good of a guy he was. You know, he would come to our basketball games. He would come to our basketball games. He was just a guy that you wanted around all the time. He was the football coach, but he was an everything coach. He would tell you you should run track, you should run the 400, or when you’re playing basketball he would help you fix your shot. He would come to play basketball with us even when we got done working out. Just having him around is what I’m going to miss,” said Love.
“Just how much he cared. Even if you weren’t playing football he would always go walk the halls of the high school and ask kids how their grades were and ask them if they want to play football and if they said they didn’t believe in themselves, he always believed in them and he always told them what he knew they could do and he would always get that out of them and more,” added Tristan Jancsi a senior center and defensive end for Gwinn.
“If he didn’t see you up in the weight room or something he would track you down in school and ask if you why and if you were okay. He wasn’t just worried about you as a football player, he was worried about you as a person. He wanted to make sure you were okay in everything that you were doing and he was just an amazing person to be around,” concluded Hill.