A tribute to Coach Peter Brewer

Peter Brewer was a longtime teacher coach at Castro Valley HS and recently coached at Northgate and Alhambra High Schools. He sadly passed away on Saturday, February 19th. Along with his teaching and coaching duties, Coach Brewer was a fixture in the coaching community in the North Coast Section as well as being an outspoken member of the state advisory board. He posted section rankings that included words that most of just dreamed of using. He hosted coaching clinics. He officiated the high jump yearly at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions. There is much more and needless to say, his passing leaves a tremendous loss for this area's coaching community. 

This past Saturday at the Dan Gabor Invitational, Amador Valley HS coach Jason "Ozzie" Oswalt read his tribute to Coach Brewer which you can see below. I think it captures coach Brewer well. RIP Coach Brewer.

"May I have your attention. On February 19th, the North Coast Section and all of high school track and field lost one of its titans. Peter Brewer passed away that day, caring for his ill wife, or as he has forever introduced her to us in the coaching community, the Goddess.

"For those of you who do not know who Peter was, that's a shame. Peter is a legendary coach, having coached most recently at Alhambra High School, before that at Northgate High School, and most notably for nearly 30 years at Castro Valley High School; the latter two schools are in attendance here today and we are sorry for all of your loss.

"Although those schools are the only institutions at which he coached, Brewer was an institution unto himself. Over the years, countless athletes, whether by choice or just by proximity, found themselves enrolled in the institute of Peter Brewer. He would take it upon himself to gather large groups of athletes and tell them about the wonders of track & field and cross country.

"2001 California State 3200m champion and multiple time California State Cross Country Champion Yong Sung Leal, who attended rival Arroyo High School, remarked last week at an event held in Peter's honor, that even being from a rival school, Brewer made running awesome, and made the guys who were good at it, guys to look up to. Brewer's influence did not end with High School athletes either.

"He was an enthusiastic mentor for many of us coaches. He made sure to find young coaches from different schools and tell them that they were doing a great job and that what they were doing was important. He was happy to sit down with those coaches, talk to them over the phone, or in the last couple of years put himself on a Zoom call, sometimes for hours at a time. This was both in order to share his knowledge and because he truly enjoyed it.

"Track people were his people. Peter has played a role in local USATF coaches education, as a leader and clinician at local coaching clinics, as a respected voice in both NCS and CIF State level policymaking, and as one of the guys running the events at both big and little meets throughout the track season. Peter Brewer was always there for the sport, sought no advantage for himself or for his teams, and needed no recognition for his work and time spent.

"More important than any of those things, Peter was a friend to a lot of us who are here today. And if you are one of those lucky people, whether a coach, an athlete, a former athlete, or if you knew Peter through any other channel, you know what kind of friend he was. 

"When I talked to Peter in January, he was hoping to be here for at least some of today. Although my suspicion is that he wasn't going to be able to make it, I know that even after just a few short months, he really missed coaching and he really missed us. Whenever we're at a big track meet, or maybe even a small track meet, or one that was running hours behind, we can be sure that he would have found joy in it. He loved this whole thing and although he didn't want the fanfare in life, I hope that he would enjoy this acknowledgment.

"I am going to stop talking now and ask that the rest of us do too, so that we may take a moment to silently remember and appreciate, Peter Brewer."

You can also find my interview with Coach Brewer from 2008 at this LINK.

Albert Caruana is a Cross Country and Track and Field coach in Northern California and a frequent contributor to California MileSplit.

Photos courtesy of Peter Brewer and family.