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Sources: Apprentice School making head coaching change

The trade school leaves its graduates primed for well-paying careers but requires a special type of football player to succeed.

John Davis has stepped down as head coach at the Apprentice School and assistant head coach Vince Brown will be promoted to replace him, sources told FootballScoop on Monday.

Davis is moving on to a new opportunity in coaching, the sources said. 

Taking over a program that went 0-10 as recently as 2015, Davis led the Apprentice School to a National Club Football Association championship in his first season as head coach. In 2019, he led the club to a 6-3 regular season and an appearance in the inaugural Neptune Bowl, pitting the school against a team from the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

Brown has been with the program for the past three seasons as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. His 2019 unit forced 26 takeaways in 10 games while setting a school record with 17 sacks and ranking second nationally with 12 rushing touchdowns allowed. 

Prior to the Apprentice School, Davis coached linebackers at NAIA Campbellsville University in Kentucky. He has coaching experience at the high school, junior college, NAIA, Division III and European football levels. He also spent 2014 as the head coach of the Egyptian national team. 

The Apprentice School exists to train engineers and craftsmen to work in the Newport News, Va., shipbuilding industry. Founded in 1919 and accredited by the Council on Occupational Education, the first bullet on the school's mission statement says it aims "(t)o contribute to the profitability and growth of Newport News Shipbuilding by recruiting, training and developing men and women for careers in shipbuilding."

The school offers courses such as "Air Conditioning and Refrigeration I" and "Machinist Shop Theory." 

The Builders compete in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.

The Apprentice School accepts only 6 percent of applicants and students are paid to conduct coursework. Freshmen earn $18.87 while conducting a 40-hour work week and students earn a minimum of $65,000 per year upon graduation. 

That aspect makes the Apprentice School similar to a service academy, where players have to truly love football to submit themselves to the rigors of the game on top of their physically demanding studies.