Kevin Sumlin: Brewton has always been a great place
So, what does the Arizona desert and football have in common with the city of Brewton?
The answer to that question is the University of Arizona’s head football coach, Kevin Sumlin.
Sumlin was born in Brewton in 1964.
His nurse, ironically, was football great, Walter Lewis’s mother.
His father at the time was a head football coach at Booker T. Washington High School.
“My grandparents lived at 209 Rakon Street. My father was naturally from Brewton and after WWII, my father moved to California and came back to coach. My mother was a school teacher in Milton, FL,” said Sumlin.
“We later moved to Bloomington, Indiana from Brewton when I was three or four. I spent every summer and Christmas in Brewton. It’s a place I love and think a lot of because of my grandparents and the people there,” Sumlin said.
On those visits back to Brewton, Sumlin had the opportunity to work out with Walter Lewis at the local track.
“I remember working out with Lewis. I had the chance to get to know him. My dad was a football coach and his was a law enforcement officer and we got to know each other really well. He was just a little older than me and I remember watching him play at Alabama and that was a huge inspiration to me later playing at Purdue,” Sumlin said.
“When you know someone like that and they make it onto a bigger stage and high level of play, it inspires you. Lewis helped give me a sense of knowing you can achieve anything despite the circumstances that the world may be in,” Sumlin said.
Sumlin’s grandfather, William Sumlin, was a member of the Brewton city council.
“My grandfather had a great relationship with many of the influential members of the community and was always involved with community relations. Throughout all these years I still have relationships with many people I knew through my grandparent’s relationships. Brewton is filled with great people and is a great community,” Sumlin said.
The city of Brewton helped take a part in shaping who is and he still carries the relationships from our city with him today.
Sumlin played his college football at Purdue as a linebacker.
He has coached for Washington State, Wyoming, Minnesota, Purdue, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Houston, and is the current head coach for the University of Arizona.
He has two C-USA West Division Championships and was the 2012 SEC Coach of the Year and the 2009 and 2011 C-USA Coach of the Year.
“For me football is more than a game, it’s a complete education, and helps create kids into adulthood and gives them traits and different lessons to take with them. I am just as proud of being able to help grow young people as much as I am with a trophy or ring. That is what the game is about.”