Florence’s Valdamar Brower attacking ‘every day mission’ of helping UMass football win again

  • Northampton native Valdamar Brower joined Don Brown's staff at UMass as a defensive line coach after leading the Springfield Central football team for more than a decade. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Northampton native Valdamar Brower joined Don Brown's staff at UMass as a defensive line coach after leading the Springfield Central football team for more than a decade. STAFF PHOTO/KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 4/13/2022 3:48:11 PM

AMHERST – Valdamar Brower gave a quick, simple answer when Don Brown asked him to join the UMass football coaching staff. He told his former defensive coordinator, “Yes coach, I'm coming right away.”

That meant leaving his position as head coach at Springfield Central High School, where he’d been since 2008. The Golden Eagles won three state championships under Brower, including one at the state’s highest level in early December.

“It was a lot of happy feelings. We just won a state championship, I was on cloud nine,” said Brower, who grew up in Florence and played high school football at Northampton.

A week later, Brower headed back to his alma mater, where he played from 1999-2003 and was an All-American, to become UMass’ defensive line coach. He dove into recruiting until the holiday break. Brower, affectionately known as “T,” had previously committed to making a PowerPoint presentation on developing a year-round high school football program for the Glazier clinic in Boston in February. Pulling that information together crystallized the previous few months for him.

“It hit me emotionally. I missed the kids, missed the routine, missed a lot of things, but the decision was made, and that decision was the right one.” Brower said. “I’m just living day by day trying to be the best I can. I know one thing, I’m trying to get UMass football winning again. That’s my every day mission.”

He’s one of five UMass alums on the coaching staff and works most directly with the one he’s most familiar with: defensive line coach/special teams coordinator/associate head coach Ben Albert. Albert graduated from UMass in 1995 and was on the Minutemen’s staff in 2002-03 during Brower’s tenure as a player.

“I’ve worked with T as a player. It’s an honor to work with him now as a coach. I have a great deal of respect for him. You can feel the passion he has for what he does,” Albert said.

After being a high school coach for so long, Brower is still settling in to the calendar and the rhythms of college football. He’d been around the program for practices under previous administrations, so he understood them. Everything else will fall into place.

“It’s been a great transition. I wouldn’t say easy because nothing’s easy,” Brower said. “I couldn’t come into a better situation with coach Albert’s experience and helping him coach the defensive line.”

Brower was a defensive lineman at UMass and is still the program’s all-time leader in tackles for loss (63), quarterback hurries (40) and blocked kicks (six). He recognizes the importance of the program and is putting pressure on himself to make it successful again.

“I love football. Being back at UMass and knowing UMass’ struggles, there’s pressure on myself being from the area to try and get it going,” Brower said. “I’m going to do it by any means necessary. I’m excited about it, love it. I want us to take care of business and be great.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.
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