Lawrence Brown began coaching at 17.
Just before his freshman year at the University of South Carolina, the Rock Hill native was coaching youth basketball.
He didn’t start coaching youth football until a chance with the Oakdale Green Dragons came along in 2010, two years after earning his degree.
“I got a call asking me was I interested in coaching youth football,” Brown said. “I had just changed to first shift and hadn’t really thought about it. But I said ‘absolutely’, and I took that opportunity.”
Brown, now 35, left Oakdale in 2015, opting to restart the Finley Park Falcons, and he’s been with the organization ever since.
Earlier this month, the Falcons pulled off an amazing feat: they won their league championships at all three age levels. Their Small Fry (8-and-under), Pee Wee (10-and-under) and Gra-Y (12-and-under) teams went a combined 27-1, with their Pee Wee team winning its fourth-consecutive league championship.
Brown, also known as “Coach Snoop,” is the head coach of the Pee Wee and Gra-Y teams, while co-director Tyrone Colvin leads the Small Fry team.
The Falcons’ stellar performance granted Brown and Colvin the opportunity to lead the Rock Hill Allstars Pee Wee and Small Fry teams, respectively. Both squads respectively won their second-consecutive state championship.
“Man, it’s amazing,” Brown said. “It absolutely never gets old. There are kids who I’ve only coached in an Allstar setting for a month who I still have a relationship with today. Getting an opportunity to prove that we really are #FootballCityUSA is wonderful. Nobody can take it from us.”
Brown takes coaching serious, but he also sees himself as having a much larger role in the lives of his players.
He says watching his players grow and mature as both people and athletes is a gratifying feeling.
“I’ve always really been really big with football,” Brown said. “I didn’t know coaching would be it; I always saw myself as a player. But once I started, it just became something more than that, you know? Really, I consider myself a youth mentor. It’s just a calling that I have in the community. It’s deeper than coaching.”
Brown has plans for Finley Park.
“I want to add things like team tutoring,” Brown said. “Where we can have some people who come maybe once a week to sit with the kids, go over homework assignments and dive more into their studies.
“That’s a really big part of the program. We track our kids’ grades. We’re really big on that kind of thing. We do written assignments, where we’re just working on the kids’ writing abilities, and challenging events. Really challenging them to think outside of sports and embrace other talents that they may have.”
Brown says he knows how much of an impact he has on his players’ lives already, and he’s excited for any opportunity to maximize that impact to the benefit of his players.