It’s Not Only An Exhibition. It’s Deeper Than That.

Photo by Trent Legaspi | The Signal

On Oct. 31, Georgia State will face the Morehouse Tigers for the first time in school history. It’s an exhibition game that simply words nor this article can explain. This game will mean way more to Atlanta than everybody thinks. 

For 21 years, Grady Brewer served as Head Coach for Morehouse College. While there, he led the school to a superb overall 315-241 record. Those 315 wins rank second behind former Morehouse basketball coach Arthur McAfee. It’s more to this story than just the wins, though. Brewer was a great coach for two decades, but he was also a great man first. David A. Thomas, Ph.D., the current Morehouse President, had much praise for Brewer. 

“The only thing that surpassed his presence on the basketball court was his transformative influence on Morehouse Men as a fellow student, player, alumnus, coach, teacher, mentor, colleague, and friend,” said Thomas. “Not only will his spirit continue to live on in the hearts of the Morehouse family, but his legacy will impact the sport for years to come.”

Unfortunately, last year, on May 29, 2021, Coach Grady Brewer passed away at 63 years old following an illness. 

The death shocked the state of Georgia and left Morehouse players, students, faculty and graduates without words. Ironically, newly hired Georgia State Basketball Head Coach Jonas Hayes started his collegiate coaching career under Brewer’s coaching staff at Morehouse. Brewer saw something special in Hayes and gave him a chance. At Hayes’ introductory press conference back in April, he made it a point to show his gratitude for Brewer. 

“He [Grady Brewer] decided to hire me after only having one year experience at Frederick Douglas High School,” said Hayes. “I didn’t know my tail from a hole in the ground. I didn’t know anything about coaching. Anything about the profession. He hired me for no other reason than he saw something in me that I necessarily didn’t see in myself. That’s what a leader does. He showed me love. [He] showed me compassion and allowed me to make mistakes at 23, 24 years old starting my coaching career. For that, god rest your soul, Grady Brewer; I’m thankful.” 

In life, “things” happen. Many times, you can’t explain these “things.” It’s beyond humanely possible to understand these “things.” It’s important to soak in the moments. Georgia State versus Morehouse College will be an iconic moment for the city of Atlanta. For Morehouse, it’s the beginning of another new season with the second-year Head Coach Douglas Whittler. A unique and unexpected fresh start, but a new start nonetheless. It’s a start to moving on and doing what Grady Brewer would’ve wanted – going out there and having fun. For Georgia State, it’ll be a moment for Jonas Hayes. He has never faced off against Morehouse’s basketball program so it’s hard to imagine his emotions won’t be high during this contest. 

Brewer would’ve loved to bear witness to Hayes getting his first head coaching job, and Hayes would’ve loved for Brewer to have a front row seat. It’s an honor for the teams to meet given the circumstances.

Let’s not forget it’s the first game in the new Convocation Center down in Summerhill. Not a single game has been in the building yet so what better than to have this exhibition as the first? Both teams will break in not only their shoes but a brand new parquet floor that only true basketball fans can appreciate. 

The city has never seen these two matchup before in a basketball duel, so Atlanta natives are in for a Halloween filled with tricks and treats. Start Halloween night off right and head down to the Convocation Center to catch history and everything else that’ll come along with this special night.