Jeff Settle is one of just two coaches who have assisted the Brownstown Central football team in all of Reed May’s 23 years as head coach.
Typically he’s in the press box on game day, but thus far this season he has been sidelined. A motorcycle crash during the summer resulted in a cast on his left leg.
That injury hasn’t stopped Settle from coaching the game he loves. He attends practices and sits in a utility vehicle under the Friday night lights.
In 1988, prior to May’s arrival, Settle joined the Braves after taking a job offer at Starve Hollow in Vallonia.
“I started coaching at Cloverdale, where I went to high school, in 1984,” Settle said. “I coached baseball and football while working for the division of forestry. I took a job here at Starve Hollow and started talking to the superintendent, principal and (then) coach Rock Hurley. They hired me as a volunteer the first year and then as an assistant in 1989.”
Settle, a graduate of Indiana State University, wanted to coach right out of high school.
“I love working with kids,” Settle said. “When I first started going to college (at Indiana State) I pursued teaching because I wanted to coach. I played football, basketball and baseball in high school. I found out that I didn’t want to teach anymore because I didn’t want to be inside. I was fortunate enough to get a degree in what I wanted to do and still be able to coach.
“Working with the kids keeps you young. You feel like you’re doing some good — not only in football. For example, this year we had a kid come into weights as a freshman who wanted to play football. They told coach May that he wouldn’t play because he didn’t go to school often (in middle school). Since he started coming to weights, he hasn’t missed a day of school. Whether a kid’s a superstar or not, it shows you the benefit of sports and the structure it provides. There are a lot of kids that need football more than football needs them.”
Over the past five or six years, Settle has worked with the Braves’ outside linebackers, wide receivers and his current role with the tight ends.
Settle said he has coached nearly all positions but quarterback under May.
“I like the defense because it requires them to think,” Settle said. “They have a lot more to do. I like being the aggressor. I like arguing with coach May when to blitz with our linebackers.”
Settle said that he has enjoyed his time working in May’s program.
“(May) is probably the most attention-to-detail guy I’ve ever been around,” Settle said with a smile. “When he first got here, we had two to three hours coaches meetings. He went through a bunch of it pretty fast and asked if we had questions. I told him, ‘Coach there are a lot of things that I have never heard of. I don’t even know what questions to ask.’”
May didn’t hesitate to have Settle on his coaching staff from the start.
“When I first got here, I had everyone who was interested fill out a coaching sheet and meet for an interview,” May said. “Jeff seemed like a good candidate for the staff. I think that a lot of our success has been that our coaches have either been with me a long time or have played for me. Jeff and Mike Brown are the last two that have been here all 23 years. He’s very knowledgeable about football and does a great job on giving me advice on calling plays and helping in practice. Its been a privilege for him to be on my staff.
“To do this for 23 years, especially with me not being the easiest guy to work for, shows his dedication to our program and kids. He loves doing it. I didn’t know how long a lot of these guys would stay when we started. A few got out a couple years ago, but I still have a lot of guys who have been here a while.”
For Settle, the cast on his leg can’t come off soon enough. He said he wants to return to his usual spot on Friday nights.
“When I’m healthy, I’m in the press box,” Settle said. “We have a list of what to look for, as far as their formations and tendencies. A lot of times, based on our formations, we watch our guys and the opponent and relay it to the field.
“I can do anything as long as there isn’t a lot of pressure,” Settle said. “I sit in the Gator and prop my foot up. The only thing I can’t do is get in the press box. It’s been kind of a humbling experience, I’m not a sit-around king of guy.”
One of Settle’s highlights during his time with the Braves was last year’s game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Settle said many of the kids on the team hadn’t been more than two counties away from Brownstown, and their reactions following the win were something he will never forget.
The assistant coach has no timetable for the rest of his coaching career and hopes to continue coaching the Braves for years to come.
The Brownstown Central High School varsity football coaches have announced awards for Friday’s 51-27 win over Paoli.
Earning honors are Gavin Bane, Offensive Back MVP; Clay Wilkerson, Offensive Line MVP; Jacob Brewer, Defensive Line/Inside Linebacker MVP; Defensive Back/Dime MVP Devin Stuckwisch; Tanner Bell, Special Teams MVP; Brendan Patman, Scout Team MVP; Brewer, Cam Shoemaker, Matt Nierman, Justin Donnells, black jersey winners.
“Whether a kid’s a superstar or not, it shows you the benefit of sports and the structure it provides. There are a lot of kids that need football more than football needs them.”
Jeff Settle, Brownstown assistant football coach
What: Charlestown (1-0) at Brownstown Central (1-0)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Blevins Memorial Stadium
Last outing: Brownstown Central def. Paoli 51-27, Charlestown def. Madison 31-30.
Most recent meeting: Charlestown won 27-16 (sectional) on Oct. 31, 2014.
Series past 30 years: Brownstown Central 42-35