Declaring, “You can’t go wrong with a Wildcat,” St. John the Baptist Parish Schools Superintendent Kevin George announced that East St. John graduate Brandon Brown has been hired to be Wildcats’ new football coach and athletic director.

Brown replaces Alton Foster, who was let go in March after three seasons.

“The goal is for him to bring greatness back to East St. John,” George said. “East St. John has one state championship (in 1980), but we are so accustomed to winning and going to the playoffs. We want to get back to the winning tradition.”

Brown was one of four finalists for the job after the field was whittled down from 14 applicants. Destrehan graduate Damon Mason, fellow East St. John alum Greg Gathers and former John Ehret coach Cory Lambert were the other finalists.

Brown spent the past five seasons at St. Helena College and Career Academy, leading the Hawks to a record of 36-25 and a trip to last year’s Class 2A state final. They lost to Welsh 38-26 in the championship game.

The team had a total of four wins in the three seasons before Brown’s arrival and went 2-9 his first season.

“Part of the reason he was selected was the building process he did at St. Helena,” George said. “He did it from the ground up. There were no quick wins. But what really impressed the committee was when he said a win is having every kid graduate, having every kid get the required ACT score to go to college. If he can’t trust you in the classroom, how can he trust you on the field?”

Brown not only was a standout football player at East St. John, earning an all-state honorable mention, he was an honor student. He earned an athletic scholarship to Alcorn State, where he was a two-year starter.

According to his bio on the St. Helena school website, Brown was selected team captain and Most Valuable Senior, finishing his final season with 79 tackles. He graduated in 2005 in secondary education and earned a masters degree in Health and Physical Education in 2006.

The Wildcats have had 10 head coaches since winning their lone state title in 1980 under Phil Greco. The team has not gotten past the regional round of the playoffs since 2006, when they lost to Rummel 59-7 in the quarterfinals. Foster led the team to a record of 14-18 over three seasons with two playoff appearances.