An encore performance. That’s what we think of as we reflect on Coach John Brooks’ retirement from many years of pouring himself into NCA. While he still retains the option to continue coaching, Coach Brooks has chosen to make this past school year his final curtain call.
It all began in the small coal-mining town of Williamson, West Virginia – in the heart of Mingo County. Coach Brooks, often called “Johnny,” grew up accelerating in both academics and athletics. During his high school tenure, he was a member of the National Honor Society, led his teams to two state championships (one in football, the other in basketball) and was an Eagle Scout. He was also a high jumper and shot put & discus thrower on the Track & Field team.
He was offered several athletic scholarships and half-scholarships, either for football, basketball or both. A short list of schools who were interested consisted of Boise State (football) West Virginia Tech (football, basketball) West Virginia University (basketball), Davidson College (basketball – Coach Lefty Driesell) and Guilford College (basketball). He chose Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he would go on to play all four years. During his senior year, he was also a member of the Track & Field team after basketball had finished.
Upon graduation, Coach Brooks went to work for Guilford County schools, landing at Western Guilford High School. He taught Biology, Physical Education, Physical Science and coached Football, Basketball and was the head Track & Field coach. He would go on to win multiple conference championships, helped develop great athletes and assisted in solidifying and strengthening the athletic program. There, he built many lasting relationships that he would cherish for a lifetime.
In 1975, he felt God was calling him to another chapter in his life, one that would include a move to Charlotte. The specific call was to be the Athletic Director and Head Basketball Coach at Northside Christian Academy. He was certainly saddened to leave his Greensboro families, but was passionately excited to pour himself into the building of an athletics program here at NCA.
During his tenure here at NCA, Coach Brooks would go on to marry his wife, Vivian, have two children, Lauren and Ben, win a state championship in Boys’ Basketball, two state championships in Track & Field and also began the first ever football program. He has been an important figure in the continuing development of the NCISAA (North Carolina Independent Schools Athletics Association). He also helped play an important role in the CISAA (Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association) of which NCA was a charter member.
He has been celebrated with accolades such as NCA’s “Commitment to Excellence” Award, inducted into NCA’s Athletics Hall of Fame, was inducted into his high school’s Athletics Hall of Fame and, in Track & Field, has coached over 50 individual conference and state champions, respectively. He also spent brief stints at two other schools, coaching and teaching at Central Cabarrus High School (where he coached NFL great, Natrone Means) and at Charlotte Latin School, where as a member of the Track & Field coaching staff, helped the Hawks to a state championship in the boys and girls teams.
Regardless of the 5–6 brief years away from NCA, Coach Brooks always had a heart for us, and always found his way back here. Apart from all of the athletic and academic accolades, Coach Brooks’ main passion has been to impact students through his unwavering character and devotion to the Lord Jesus. While he has always provided excellence in the classroom and on the field, it has always been more important for him to see students come to know Jesus and develop spiritually. He also has desired to see students become dedicated mothers and fathers, involved in their churches and to be upstanding citizens who impact their communities.
While we hate to see him retire (currently as Director of Alumni Engagement) we remember his service to the Lord and to the NCA community with extreme fondness. Anyone who knows Coach Brooks knows that he genuinely cares about them, and for that, we are all thankful. We are blessed to have been under his guidance and teaching all of these years, and we look forward to many more years of fellowship with him, even outside of these walls.
Coach, we can’t wait to see which communities you’ll impact and how well you’ll love on others outside of the NCA property. We love you, we are incredibly thankful for you, forever indebted to your service and we hope that you’ll come back and coach, just one more year (for many years to come)!
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. We love you and thank God for you!