WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — As Independence Community College begins a new football season this weekend, most things are different.
There’s a new coach, a new athletic director, a new school president — and no cameras filming a new season of Last Chance U, a Netflix show that The Wichita Eagle reports brought the school fame and infamy.
The goal is a total rebuild of the program, which was led by former coach Jason Brown to its best season in decades in 2017 before a downward spiral with a 2-8 season in 2018. And that wasn’t all.
Brown resigned in February after the Montgomery County Chronicle wrote about a text message in which he told a German-born player “I am your new Hitler.” In June, the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office charged Brown with eight felony counts for allegedly pretending to be a lawyer from Johnnie Cochran’s Los Angeles law firm in an attempt to silence criticism in local newspapers.
College leaders say it’s a new day.
“We’re going to clean up the image and we’re going to build a championship culture and we’re going to be faith-based and be strong in mentoring and serving our community,” said new athletic director Brett Vana.
New coach Kiyoshi Harris, who was the associate head coach and offensive line coach the last two seasons at Independence and featured in the Netflix series, says he has his own ideas for the program.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to run my own program,” Harris said.
“We’re trying to change the culture. We’re trying to hold kids accountable and develop a little bit of work ethic.”
Last-Chance U focused on junior-college football, with the idea that the programs are often the last chance for players who are talented but sometimes have problems such as academic challenges or criminal records.