MONTEGO BAY, St James — It should be a daunting job to take over from a veritable legend of Jamaican junior track and field, but for Kirk Brown, the new man in charge of overseeing the Holmwood Technical girls programme in the wake of the resignation of Maurice Wilson, it should be a seamless transition.
It would have been a big void to fill, to replace a man who guided Holmwood Technical to nine straight titles and 10 in 11 years, but after being an assistant to Wilson for 14 years, the second-longest serving assistant, Brown said it would be just a matter of building on the foundation that has been set.
Despite the change at the top, however, the goals at Holmwood have not changed and staying ahead of the pack and winning the ISSA Girls' Championships title come next March is still the number one priority.
In a recent interview, Brown told the Jamaica Observer he was not "intimidated" by the job, but admitted, "It's a challenge, but the fact that I've been around Mr Wilson's programme for the past 14 years it's basically like the only difference is the title of head coach."
Wilson had indicated about two years ago he would be stepping down soon and hinted his replacement would come from his three assistants, including Dave Anderson, who has been around the longest, and also coaches the school's daCosta Cup football team, as well as Dwight Jones.
According to Brown, however, given the programme and structures that have been left by Wilson, it would not matter which of the three was handed the head coaching job.
"Mr Wilson had a purpose about his decision prior to making his decision about two years ago. So each of us, all three of us, we have been looking forward to working with each other despite who would eventually get the job as head coach. So there was no surprise, as it would be one of us, and no matter who got the job it would not make a difference," he asserted.
Talk is cheap and Brown is fully aware, and without Wilson to step in and take control of the ship if there are any storms or rough seas in mid journey, and how he goes about ensuring the journey is smooth, it will be a big job he quickly confessed.
Brown said the initial step is to "maintain (what we have) first and we have to look at the quality of the performances of our athletes and how best we take care of them." He added that Wilson's foundation is still intact and the school's administration has also stepped up. "The school has made some improvement in relation to its support, in that things that we used to have to wait a longer time for, started coming a bit earlier, they have stepped up in terms of time in delivering what they promised."
Preparation for the season started in September, Brown reported, and the girls are in "good shape and spirit".
Holmwood, Brown said, is not in the habit of counting potential points that will not return but plan on how they can maximise what they have.
Asked to look ahead at the upcoming season, Brown breathed a long sigh before responding: "We have a culture at Holmwood where we first deal with how best we can get those we have to start performing in terms of their technique, their strength and then when the season starts, and we start competing against the others, that is when we start to truly analyse our ability to defend or how best we can defend."
Despite the transition period, where he will try to put his stamp on the programme, the ultimate goals have not changed. "Winning Champs has always been the focus and, as defending champions, this will be the focus for this year," he said, before adding: "Not just to defend, but we are also looking at the national athletics programme... there are the IAAF World Junior Championships and Youth Olympics, among other championships, so we are actually looking at the full picture as it relates to junior track and field."