American Leadership Academy Gilbert North against Rio Rico, during an AIA Conference 4A baseball game

A poster of former American Leadership Academy Gilbert North baseball head coach Brett Brewer hangs in the dugout during a game against Rio Rico, Wednesday, April 5, 2023, in Gilbert, Arizona. (David Minton/Staff Photographer)

On the night of Jan. 6, 2023, former American Leadership Academy Gilbert North head baseball coach Brett Brewer talked with current coach David Webster about taking over the program. Brewer gave up the job following the team’s runner-up finish in 2022, and Webster took over, albeit reluctantly, with the promise of Brewer’s support.

“We talked about him helping and coming out and getting ready,” Webster said of their conversation. “He was gonna help me.”

However, that would end up being the last time Webster spoke to him. Brett Brewer tragically passed away the next morning on Jan. 7, 2023.

The devastating news shook ALA Gilbert not even two months before the season. Webster said the team had an emotional meeting after hearing the news.

The players, the other coaches, families, the school and many more were impacted by Brewer’s death, but Webster especially had a more personal connection to him.

“My son married his daughter, and they had a baby the next day after he passed, so Brett and I have been really good friends for probably 10 to 15 years,” Webster said of their relationship. “He had a big influence on me both personally and as a coach. When he passed, I didn’t know what to do, really.”

With a staff of several coaches who had been coaching together for several years as well, Webster didn’t have to look far for support.

“A lot of these guys stepped up,” the head coach said. “These guys too have all coached with Brett for the last five, six years actually.”

Tyler Vought, one of those assistant coaches who had worked alongside Brewer and Webster for several years, mentioned that the team has a reminder of their former head coach every day they come to practice.

“Every single time we come to the field, we’ve got his plaque up in the dugout that we all get to see,” Vought said. “Every time we walk in, we kinda look at that and remember what he was to our program.”

The Eagles have a constant reminder of Brewer’s impact on the program and on themselves as a coach and a person. The plaque honored Brewer’s legacy and the team has been able to rally around the memory of their former coach.

Even though the coaches had been working with Brewer longer and had impacted them every day for several years, it’s the players who have to deal with losing a role model at such a young age.

However, Webster and Vought both have been very impressed by the players’ abilities to deal with the adversity and rally around the circumstances.

“They’re definitely pulling through,” Vought said of his players’ resilience. “We can see that they’ve come together a lot as a team in dealing with adversity like that.”

Every returning player played under Brewer last season when he led the team to the 3A State Championship, where they lost in the final to Northwest Christian High School. They had a very successful season overall, with a 24-7 overall record and a 14-3 record in AIA play.

Brewer himself was coaching the team through some major health problems. According to Athletic Director Randy Ricedorff, Brewer had an inspiring effort just to get to the championship game and coach the team.

“The guy is tough as nails,” said Ricedorff, who hired Brewer prior to the 2019 season. “He’s in the hospital for I don’t know how many days, gets out of the hospital and can barely walk, and he’s like, ‘I just can’t miss this.’”

Even though everyone recounts Brewer as an incredible coach that cares for all his players, even at the expense of his health, everyone remembers him for being an even better person.

Every player, coach, student, staff member and person that Brewer interacted with was impacted by every moment spent with him, whether it be a coaching moment or a random act of kindness.

This was a pattern with how everyone described him. Celebrating him as a coach but cherishing him as a person.

Brewer got drafted in the 1993 MLB draft and played in the minor league for a few years, but that’s not what his coworkers and his friends like Ricedorff know him for.

“Just a real humble, genuine guy.”

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at (480)898-5630 or Follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira


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