YUMA PROVING GROUND, Ariz.-- “Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication, and respect for authority.”
So said the legendary Vince Lombardi, considered by many the greatest coach in football history.
It’s also an ethos that guides the life of Alfonzo Brown.
Since coming to YPG in 2015, Brown has made a significant impact on the Yuma community’s football scene. A former coach and board member for the Yuma Pop Warner football league, he currently serves as a volunteer coach for the varsity football team at Gila Ridge High School.
“I’m a busy body,” he said with a smile.
Sports have been a nearly lifetime pursuit for the Alabama native. He played football in his youth, and excelled enough at baseball to earn a scholarship to Enterprise State Junior College. He knew he would go no further in the sport, however, and enlisted in the Army upon graduation.
“I knew I was too small. I knew I would never play big league ball, but they gave me a scholarship to go play for two years, so I did it.”
Brown says his time playing team sports had a formative influence on his later life, which influenced his desire to coach youngsters when he got older.
“Sports absolutely helped me. Playing taught me that you can’t be the guy all the time, that in order to be successful someone else has to be successful also. It taught me not to be selfish as a person.”
The influence sports had on his development continues today in his current job.
“In order to be an antiterrorism officer, you have to be a team player. You have to be able to assist and help achieve the mission without worrying about getting your own glory.”
Brown coaches both the running and defensive backs for the varsity squad. They were 9-1 in the regular season in 2019-20, advancing all the way to the Arizona Interscholastic Association 4A Conference Semifinals. They were undefeated in the regular season last school year. The team boasts a combined 23-6 record over the past three years, and Brown predicts another competitive run under new head coach Jessica Slaughter.
“We have about 50 kids out between junior varsity and varsity, and we’re looking forward to a pretty good season. Johnny Noriega, one of the top wide receivers in the state, is on our team.”
Why does Brown do what he does?
“Your time is valuable. There is always somebody that needs your time.”