Football: Brainerd assistant Stevenson wins national award
Brainerd Warriors offensive line coach Chet Stevenson won the 2019 national assistant coach of the year, winning among eight finalists nominated by NHSACA (National High School Athletic Coaches Association) in Bismack, ND.
Stevenson is going into his 44th year coaching in the Brainerd area and as he recounts has coached 165 straight seasons counting his winters and summers in the weight room as strength coach.
The strength program at Brainerd High School is something Stevenson is proud of because it is for all athletes including boys, girls and kids who aren’t athletically gifted. When head football coach Ron Stolski and Stevenson got to Brainerd football, the weight program was nothing but a dusty old universal gym.
“Strength has always been a component,” Stevenson said about the strength program at Brainerd that he leads. “I worked all the summers in the strength room that went into the fall where I am the offensive line coach and then the winter strength program.”
In the spring, Stevenson coaches the throwers in track and field where he gets to build relationships with most of the football linemen because they are throwers. Building those relationships with his players in multiple sports is something Stevenson finds rewarding and looks back at fondly.
“This last football season I had seven offensive linemen who played quite a bit and they were all seniors who had been with me through all the seasons to the high school weight room in the winter to track and field,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson has more memories with Brainerd football then he knows he can count. From Stolski’s 200th win when they came back from a big halftime deficit to beating schools like Wayzata, Eden Prairie and Cretin Derham-Hall. However, the Brainerd community and their support makes winning this award even more special for Stevenson.
He credits the parents for making his time coaching even better than he could’ve imagined. In a time where the coach and parent relationships can be toxic, Stevenson shares an opposite experience.
“The parents care about their kids and want the best for them,” he said. “I have had a great relationship with parents throughout the years and they entrust me with their kids.”
He loves sharing the stories of where some of the athletes he has coached in the weight room and on the field are now.
“You will not find a more dedicated or knowledgeable assistant then Chet Stevenson,” Stolski said.