Where are they Now: Brent Brock

Brent Brock was an OL for FSU from 1976-1981. He is another guy who had a hand in the grassroots growth of the Seminole program & was apart of the first years of Bobby Bowden's first teams when he came to Tallahassee. ND caught up with the former lineman and current Middle Tennessee State TE's coach to talk about his time at FSU & his long tenure coaching on both the high school & college levels.

Soon after Brent left FSU, he went right into coaching, saying, "It was always my desire to get into coaching. From high school on I always thought that they made a difference in kid's lives. When I came to FSU in knew that was what I wanted to do, so I got a degree in teaching. I was born and raised in Albany, GA and you always want to go back where you laid your hat. I volunteered at Godby some, but I ran into my high school sweetheart, we got married, and we headed back to Georgia. We felt that's where we wanted to be."

Back when he was being recruited, FSU was coming off of a 22 game stretch where the Noles were 4-18, causing the removal of Darryl Mudra for Bobby Bowden. Even thought the change was made, Brock was fortunate enough that the guy who was recruiting him, Gene McDowell, remained on staff. " I often joke and laugh with people today that if FSU had the success they have had the past 30 years, I would not of played at FSU. I probably wouldn't have even been on their board. But I was fortunate that Gene McDowell stayed on me and that Coach Bowden stayed on me. I honestly wanted to go there to play baseball because I thought I was this hotshot kid who could play ball, but I wasn't. I was tickled about it and I am still today that I had the chance to play at FSU. I really cherish that," stated Brock.

Like many of the players we have interviewed from Bowden's early years, playing in the big games against Nebraska, Pitt, Ohio State and Notre Dame were lifelong memories. But for Brent, there were other things he took away from his experience playing for the Noles, "The one benefit that I took away from FSU was not playing in the games, but being around the leadership and staff that put that program together. That was a tremendous benefit that I still look back on today. When I was there, I turned into a better person and a better man. Those are the things I remember. The way the coaches, primarily Bowden, put that program together was great, and it all started with the relationships he had with the players. The bonds I formed there are still strong today. 30 years later we still meet up, let the families hang together and let our guards down. It's great."

Playing for a legend like Bobby Bowden is something special. For Brock, it was a personal thing for him. "The impact Coach had on me is obvious. When I was at FSU my father passed away. Bobby became a very strong role model for me and was someone I could learn from. I try to pattern myself after him with regards to the respect he has for people in general, not just people involved in football. I want to develop this program here like he did. Teams have pressure to win and putting a winning team together is stressful. But Bowden did it with grace and integrity," said Brock.

Since the NFL was not much of an opportunity and the desire to go into coaching was always prevalent, it seemed natural that Brent went right into the field after his time at FSU. "Like I said, I went right into the coaching thing. I spent 6 years at FSU as a student, and my mom used to joke she thought I came out with a medical degree. But I went to Thomasville, Georgia after Godby and it was nice how things fell into place. I got to work with a successful coach in Bowden when I was a player and I got to coach with a legend in Georgia high school football in Dr. Jim Hughes. He had a major influence on my coaching style as well as the way I lived my life," stated Brock.

One of the players he really clicked with at FSU was former star quarterback, and current Middle Tennessee State head coach, Rick Stockstill. They have been friends for over 30 years, and they always wanted to coach together on the collegiate level. For Stockstill, he was a long-time assistant before finally getting a shot as head coach, and when he did a call to Brock was one of his first items on his list. Brent says, "I always enjoyed the high school aspect of coaching but I wanted to sometime get into college coaching. We always wanted to work together at this level and now it's coming true. Being that I got this chance later in my career makes me much more appreciative of the opportunity that I have. I had some other opportunities to get into college coaching, but either it wasn't a great fit or the timing wasn't right. The decision to coach and work with Rick was an easy one."

Middle Tennessee State has only been a Division 1 program for 8 years. Under Stockstill, they were able to win their conference in his first year of coaching, and Brock was apart of that. "This has been a good fit for me and my family. It reminds me of when Bowden got to FSU. The stadium is small, the exposure isn't there, and we look to play any big name team we can. We have to be able to get the exposure to get our program out there to help recruiting. You do that, like FSU did, you'll be able to get quality kids who play well, want to work together and get a good education. Now that we've played the Louisville's and Virginia's, we have to work on winning those games. It will come in due time. Coach Stockstill and I have seen a direct reflection of FSU's early days, whereas our AD wants to follow how Louisville did it earlier this decade," expressed Brock.

For many former players the struggles FSU has had recently has been tough to stomach, For Brent, it's just a matter of time that FSU gets back, saying, "Parity has a direct reflection to what's been going on in college football, not just at FSU. With the 85 limit the big boys can't sign them all anymore and kids now want early playing time to go with their education. Therefore schools like USF, MTSU, Rutgers, etc are able to take those kids and build their programs. In terms of FSU, I believe the leadership that Bowden brings, the team will get back. I have faith in Coach that he'll get it done there again."

The life of a high school coach isn't as glamorous as college coaches, and the hard work and time he put in caused Brock to not get back to FSU as much as he'd like. "When I was coaching in Georgia it was hard for me to get back for games and all because a lot of teams played on Saturdays, so I had to do scouting. I do get back for games when our class gets together or when the Varsity Club puts things together. It's always great to see those guys and I do wish I could get back more. That was the bad part of coaching in high school," said Brock.

The future in Brock's eyes is bright and he would like nothing more to stay at the collegiate level the rest of his career. He said, "My goal is to stay here and help Stock put this thing together into a winning program. I'd like to get more responsibility on his staff and help him as much as I can. If it didn't work out I could always go back to the high school ranks in Georgia. I plan on coaching as long as I am healthy, and I feel great right now. Putting this program on the map would give me joy. I've been married for 25 years and my wife loves it here. Working with kids is something we both cherish and I wouldn't have it any other way what I am doing. To model this program like Bowden did would be the dream come true."



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