Detroit public school football is some of the best public school football being played in the country.
Programs like Cass Tech, King and East English Village Prep can bang with the private schools and schools from the suburbs, and they've been doing it for years.
From Sound Mind Sound Body Maximum Exposure, to Hype, Michigan Elite, to Rising Stars, there are so many good folks in the community helping the Detroit’s youth put their energy into football and being a positive young man in society.
Chan Brock, a 1997 graduate of Finney High, is one of those good people giving back on a daily basis to his hometown of Detroit.
Brock went on to play a couple seasons at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, before returning home not necessarily sure of his future. Two things he always knew, he wanted to do something in football, and he wanted to graduate from college.
Starting off coaching in Detroit’s very competitive PAL youth football league, and then becoming an assistant and eventual coordinator on the high school level, while also being a strong presence with the Sound Mind Sound Body Maximum Exposure program, Brock never stopped taking college classes and earned his degree, a bachelors in history and minor in social science from Mary Grove College.
Between coaching, working as a barber and then eventually Detroit Athletic Club, to getting his first job inside a school at Madison High, with only 24 hours in a day, Brock sacrificed sleep and social time to lock up his degree. Six credit hours here, nine credit hours there, and the paper was finally his.
“To me it was a couple things,” Brock said. “First things first, knowing there was such a lower percentage of kids in my area getting degree, especially males, and I’m coaching kids, my number one thing to the kids is to use this game as a vehicle. On my end as a player, I didn’t use it as the vehicle I should have. For me to tell them to use this game to take care of your academics and go to college, get your degree and set your life up better, I had to get my degree.
“All my struggles reflected back to decisions I made when I was 17 to 22. That’s the most critical window for a young man and the decisions you make that will set you up for life. My struggles were my lighting rod to tell people this is what you have to do. The desire to want to show these kids this is important. You have to go and hold your degree. There is a less than 25 percent male graduation rate in Detroit and less than five percent of them go to college.”
With that degree, Brock was able to take an assistant coaching position, working with the defensive backs in 2013 at Eastern Illinois. The Panthers finished 12-2 including a perfect 8-0 conference record and a championship.
“My foundation of being a good high school coach, and my involvement being a recruiter for the Sound Mind Sound Body camp and reputation for being relationship builder helped bridge me to the opportunity at Eastern Illinois,” Brock explained. “I’m a recruiter, I build relationships, cultivate relationships and build relationships with kids and their family because of my story.”
Eastern Illinois head coach Dino Babers left for Bowling Green after the season and Brock was out of a job in the college profession, bringing him back to his hometown where he quickly picked up where he left off. Teaming up with Cass Tech assistant coach Jermain Crowell, they both started Grind Academy, a technique school and camp prep for defensive backs and linebackers.
Brock is currently interviewing for high school jobs while also scanning college openings, whether it’s an on-field position or in the recruiting office. He is as comfortable on the football field coaching young men as he is sitting in a living room and recruiting. Attending coaching clinics and camps at some of the best college football programs in the country including Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, along with working with some great high school coaches in the Detroit area like Denby legend Drake Wilkins have molded him into the young coach he is today. Helping Curtis Blackwell, who is now the Dir. of College Advancement & Performance/Camp Dir. at Michigan State, with all his work at Sound Mind Sound Body Maximum Exposure has also been integral.
“My reputation of being able to build relationships and reach out to kids and build that trust factor, and get kids to come to camp and come play for me, my presence and my ability to work hard for kids, kids want to play for me,” Brock said.
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