Gary “Rooster” Brewer racked up all he needed from 1970 to 1973 as a member of the Grundy County baseball team to see his name listed among the Yellow Jacket greats.
Brewer had a combined eight letters on both the diamond and the basketball court, All-District and Most Valuable Player honors as a senior and a baseball scholarship offer from Motlow State Community College.
But another four years of athletic accolades at the collegiate level nearly never happened for the then-18-year-old.
“I had turned down my athletic scholarship offer to Motlow and began working for McGlohon Spring, Inc. in Chattanooga the day after graduation,” Brewer said. “I had a job making money, and all I wanted at the time was to buy a jeep, a coon dog and a deer rifle.”
It wasn’t until a night of hunting two years later that he received the push he needed to pursue his degree and a career in college baseball.
One evening while he and the late Lowery “Corky” Mainord were waiting for the dogs to return from their chase, Corky offered his two cents on the situation.
“I can’t tell you exactly how he phrased it,” Brewer said with a laugh, “but it really struck a nerve with that young boy who didn’t know what he wanted to do but buy a few new shiny toys.”
Brewer took Mainord’s two cents. He went on to finish out the summer while playing baseball in the Pelham Connie Mack League and Mountain Valley League before walking on at Motlow for coach Jackie Reavis in tha fall of 1975.
Although two years removed from high school baseball, the freshman fireballer earned a 4-1 record on the mound for the Bucks with the majority of his appearances coming out of the bullpen. Reavis then handed Brewer a starting job as a sophomore where he had one of the best seasons of his career. The right-hander collected a 7-1 record on the rubber while setting a handful of records that stood for many years after his tenure in Lynchburg was over. His seven wins, along with the program records for lowest earned run average and most strikeouts in a single season, earned him the title of the league’s MVP in 1977.
It was the fall of 1976, the semester between his freshman and sophomore baseball seasons, that he met Jan Bobo. She was just beginning her freshman year at Motlow.
“I believe God had a plan for me to meet Jan,” Brewer said. “I turned down my scholarship offer in 1973. Then, three years later, Jan shows up at Motlow.
“If I had played at Motlow those two seasons right after high school, I would have already graduated by the time Jan began college. I would have never met that dark-haired, dark-eyed beauty from Lynchburg who became my wife of 42 years as of July 2. Just look how God has blessed us. That is God.”
Following his two-year career at MSCC, Brewer went on to play two seasons at Francis Marion College in Florence, S.C., where he lettered two years for the Patriots. Head baseball coach Gerald Griffin awarded the Grundy County native a scholarship and named him FMC’s opening day pitcher in consecutive sea-sons.
At Francis Marion, Brewer compiled a combined seven wins with just two losses in two seasons. The only two losses the ace received during his time with the Pats came against the No. 1 team in the nation: the North Carolina Tar Heels of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Brewer received his B.S. in Sociology from Francis Marion in 1979 and moved back to Grundy County shortly after. Once back on the mountain, Brewer returned to work for McGlohon Springs where he still works today; the same company he parted ways with four years prior to pursue not only his baseball career, but God’s plan for his life.
Brewer will be inducted into the Grundy County High School Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, August 3, at 4 p.m., at the Grundy County High School cafeteria, as the Class of 2019 is celebrated and enshrined.
For more information on the Grundy County High School Sports Hall of Fame, to view current members or to RSVP for the banquet, visit Facebook.com/GCHSSportsHOF or search @GCHSSportsHOF.