Baldwin hires McKeesport assistant Dana Brown Jr. as football coach

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023 | 6:56 PM


Dana Brown Jr. turns 32 on Sunday, but he got an early birthday present Wednesday night.

Brown, a McKeesport assistant coach and former standout player for the Tigers, was hired as Baldwin’s football coach, making him one of the younger big-school coaches in the WPIAL.

The first-time head coach takes over a program that’s coming off a 1-9 season, including 0-5 in the Allegheny Six.

“I see a program that will be able to grow with me,” said Brown, a 2009 McKeesport graduate, who played college football at Kent State. “It’s an opportunity to put a stamp (on the team), develop young student-athletes and bring Baldwin to notoriety.”

Brown works as an assistant athletic director at McKeesport. At Baldwin, he replaces coach Tim Sweeney, who went 5-20 in three seasons. The Highlanders were outscored 420-148 last season and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2019, but those aren’t the numbers Brown is most focused on.

“I think the struggle in recent years has been (roster) numbers,” he said. “That’s one of the biggest things I’ve touched on with people that I’ve talked with. … The focus right now is getting those numbers up. They finished last season with 24 kids. That’s crazy for a 5A school.”

Baldwin started last season with around 50 players on the roster, including 27 sophomores and freshmen, but injuries and departures caused that number to decline. So, Brown said he sees his new job as equal parts coach and motivator.

“Right now, it’s all motivating,” he said. “It’s trying to get the kids out who maybe haven’t played in two years or maybe haven’t played since eighth grade. … Baldwin has always had athletes. Now it’s time to get them back out there and utilize them the right way.”

Brown was an all-conference defensive lineman for McKeesport and played in the Big 33 Football Classic in 2009. After college, he worked as a volunteer assistant with the Tigers for a few years before officially joining the staff in 2017 as a defensive line coach.

Brown pointed out that he’ll be among the younger head coaches in WPIAL Class 5A, but insisted that’s a challenge he likes.

“I’m excited for the opportunity,” he said. “I know I’ll be one of the youngest coaches. That’s an exciting part for me, because I’m a competitor.”

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at charlan@triblive.com.

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