ANDERSON — Family is more important than football for Robert Brown.
And that could be the best thing to happen to the Anderson High School football program in years.
The Fort Wayne native and former Indiana University linebacker quite literally followed his heart to just the second head coaching stop of his career.
Brown resigned after three seasons at Fort Wayne Wayne to move closer to his fiancee in Indianapolis. But he also wanted to make sure his new home was a good fit for his son, Aaron, who will be a freshman quarterback in the fall.
He found everything he was looking for in Anderson, where he will become the school's first black head football coach since Woody Moore in the 1970s.
"I didn't apply for a lot of the jobs that were open because I didn't see myself being happy there," Brown said inside the AHS cafeteria Wednesday, shortly after his first official meeting with his new team. "Football, maybe. But teaching there, my son going there, maybe not diverse enough for me. Maybe not representative of what I believe in and things that are important to me. So when researching Anderson, the job came open in March, I jumped at the opportunity."
Brown emerged as the choice from 28 applicants, 11 of whom made it to the initial interview stage. That group eventually was narrowed to three, but Brown stood out all along.
Indians athletic director Steve Schindler received glowing reports from his peers at both Fort Wayne Snider — where Brown coached defensive linemen for one year — and Wayne. And he quickly became convinced of the quality of his new coach's character.
There's a buzz surrounding this hiring that was evident less than 24 hours into Brown's reign. He spent much of his first day on the job walking the hallways, meeting his new players and attempting to recruit any able-bodied boy who might look good in a helmet and shoulder pads.