Having coached Big Red Football to the state playoffs in 2017, Coach Jerry Racine has returned to head up the coaching staff at BHS for the 2020 season. His return during the pandemic shutdown has come with its own set of challenges.

“I’ve always been involved in coaching,” Jerry Racine said. Having 10 years experience under his belt, not only in football but also wrestling and track, Racine is returning to coaching Browning Big Red football in the 2020 season.

Reflecting on his last 2017 and 2018 seasons in Browning, he noted the 2017 team in particular had “an exceptional bunch of seniors” who led the team to the first playoff in many years. Following that, he said four of his former players are now in college sports while another four have entered the military.

Racine said he grew tired of the political situation surrounding coaches at the time and accepted a coaching position in Hays in the interim. “It was a breath of fresh air,” he said. “They believed in me and trusted me with the youth. They liked to hear my opinion which opened other doors for me.”

Eventually, Racine said he was contacted by a Browning parent about an opening for his former position at BHS. He said more parents and students began encouraging him to apply, and when he was assured his applying wouldn’t hurt anyone else’s chances, he went for it and was hired.

But, as we all know, 2020 is unique with the coronavirus and shutdowns, and locally this has impacted his program.

“This year has definitely been chilling and frustrating,” Racine said, “because all the Class A schools are practicing, all of them. The rest of the state is in Phase 2, and they have plans in place with the state for practicing. I’m working with [Browning Activities Director] Everett Armstrong to get it open for practice with social distancing and steps to sanitize.”

At present, however, none of the practice facilities are open, including the weight room.

“It looks like football is a ‘go’ statewide. In talking with ADs and coaches around the state, they believe there will be a season, but with this lasting until June 30 it’s a hardship for the team because others are practicing,” Racine said.

With things shut down  Racine thinks more should be done to provide opportunities for young people.

“Kids want discipline and guidance,” he said. “Disciplined players make smart decisions; undisciplined players make dumb decisions, and that’s the situation now. I respect everyone’s opinion on the safety of the reservation, but we need something for our youth.”

So far, Racine says there are some 60 kids who want to go out for football this year. “They are ready to go, and they want to know what they can do,” he said.

In terms of personnel, Racine notes Chucky Brave Rock’s return as a leading lineman across the state, as well as Cody Carlson who made all-conference and is returning as quarterback. Additionally, he has a host of veterans on the front line.

“It’s probably the deepest team I’ve had,” he said. “There’s talent across the board, and that makes everyone better.”

For Coach Racine, waiting for a decision is not easy. “It’s tough,” he said. “I’m not an idle person and I love working with youth. I’m a year-round coach, but this is a fresh, new start, and I’m  excited to be back.”

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