Since arriving at McKinney North, Kendall Brewer has worked his way up the food chain within the Bulldogs' football program.
After getting his start as a coach at the junior high school level in Arlington, Brewer joined North in 2015 taking what he likened to an entry-level coaching position. Seven years later, Brewer will enter his eighth year in McKinney as the Bulldogs' next head football coach.
McKinney ISD announced Brewer's promotion to head coach on Monday, a decision that comes following Mike Fecci's elevation to MISD associate athletic director. Fecci had coached the Bulldogs for the past 13 seasons.
"I'm so happy, proud and excited for coach Fecci and our district," Brewer said. "He's a legend here with the longevity and success that he's had, as well as the impact that he's had on so many lives. He's a guy that I really look up to as a mentor. He has brought me along and that's a relationship that means a lot to me."
It's one that predates Brewer's time with the Bulldogs, with Fecci having worked with his successor's father in the past. It was that connection that helped drive Brewer to McKinney as he began to jump-start his coaching career.
In addition to being an assistant football coach, Brewer coached track and was the head coach of North's powerlifting team. As the years went by, his duties within the football program swelled — he coached tight ends and offensive linemen at the varsity level before being named the Bulldogs' offensive coordinator prior to the 2020 season.
Those within MISD took notice of Brewer's rise through the ranks. He was named the school district's assistant coach of the year in 2020, and in 2018, he received the MISD Inspirational Teacher Award.
"It's really a dream come true to be able to achieve a professional goal like this at a place that means so much to me," Brewer said. "I've spent the vast majority of my career here and worked just about every stop in the organization, from the bottom and now all the way up to the top.
"I'm proud of the relationships I've built and the way we handle our business here. I'm proud and honored to continue the traditions that we have here."
Naturally, Brewer's predecessor had quite the influence on his development as a coach. Fecci took the reigns at North in 2009, guiding the team to nine playoff appearances during his tenure, including each of the past six years. Under Fecci, North made a run to the regional finals in 2014 and reached the regional semifinals in 2014, 2017 and 2019.
"[Fecci] really epitomizes the relationship piece of this profession and how crucial that is. It's so important, not just professionally but because that's how you should treat people," Brewer said. "You should want to build strong relationships with them and that's what our profession is all about. He's a great relationship guy and will always try and do right by people and make them feel like they can be successful with his help and support — just the little things you can do to let people know you care and how important that is in the big picture."
It's something that Brewer relayed to his players earlier in the week prior to strength and conditioning workouts shortly after his promotion to head coach was made official. That included an aside with North's rising seniors.
"I let them know that this is a special, unique time in their lives and I wanted to let them know that it's going to be OK, and that I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure they have a special senior season that they've been working so hard for over the years," Brewer said.
Brewer inherits a program coming off a 5-6 season and an appearance in the bi-district playoffs. The Bulldogs will be transitioning to a new-look district in 7-5A Division I, rife with an abundance of travel over the next two seasons.
North's closest commute within the district is approximately 40 miles to Mesquite, with lengthy road trips in store against Tyler (120 miles), Longview (156) and Lufkin (209). The competitive climate will remain stout as well, with perennial powerhouse Lancaster also in the mix, but Brewer is confident in the foundation laid at North as he transitions to his first-ever head-coaching job.
"Here at North, we have a tremendous administration team and tremendous faculty. Top to bottom, it's the best coaching staff that I've been a part of," Brewer said. "We have a great mix of coaches with some experienced coaches and some new blood in here. My assistant athletic coordinator helps me a lot with the big picture and our administrative assistant helps me with the paperwork and housekeeping items. All the things are in place to keep this thing really rolling."
The Bulldogs open the 2022 season at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at MISD Stadium against Garland as part of the annual McKinney Classic.