Friday, February 1, 2008

Coach Brown

Last weekend was a weekend I won't long forget. I'll never forget
getting a phone call from my running backs coach, Gerald Brown, at
around 3 p.m. asking me to call the rest of my running back teammates
for a 4:30 p.m. meeting at The Rock. He sounded like he was in a good
mood, so I knew no one was in trouble. But as he spoke I had a weird
feeling in my gut. It was almost like a nervous feeling. I was well
aware that Coach Brown had been getting noticed for a long time, which
he deserved, but I was never in fear that he would take another job while I was in school here.

As you probably know by now, Coach Brown had accepted an amazing offer to coach running backs for the Atlanta Falcons. When he sat us down and told us, my heart sank a bit. But I still cracked a smile because I know that this has always been his

I can honestly say that Coach Brown is one of the best coaches I've
ever had. To some he may come across as too tough or too disciplinary,
but for me, he was just right. I can still remember how he coach me when I came to a summer camp between my junior and senior years in high school. I told my parents on the ride back to Fort Wayne that Coach Brown is definitely someone I could play for.

I will always love and appreciate Coach Brown for the way he taught us
players how to handle ourselves, how to be men of character and to take
the "harder right." I will miss his many powerpoints, where he had not
only the many aspects of the game of football diagramed, but messages
for life. He always said that when we leave IU we may not have liked
him but he will have taught us how to carry ourselves, how to get a
job, how to survive in the world, especially as black men. He also taught us to truly work hard and that we must earn everything we achieve. He used to always tell us that when you give something to someone you cheapen them. He must earn it. I think about that everyday.

Coach Brown always said things would be fair but not equal. He stuck
by that quote and never broke his word. Sure, there may have been
times when we didn't see eye to eye, but everything was squashed quickly
as he'd always teach me a lesson out of whatever the problem was. He
coached us hard, not for us to be good, but for us to be great. He
would say "Don't be afraid to be great!" Each day I say that too

For the rest of my career, every time I get the ball and burst through a
hole I will hear his deep, booming voice in my head yelling, "Rip it!"
or "Hit it!" I will always miss how he used to get so excited when any
of us made a great play. He would appear to make moves as if he had
the ball when he watched us and as we broke into the open he'd often
times laugh with happiness or sometimes, even do a little dance.
Practice, let alone games, will never be the same without him.

A huge reason Coach Brown means so much to me is because he truly
believed in me. No, I never started while he was here, no I never ran
faster than a 4.5 40, I was never the
strongest running back (Josiah Sears), but coach saw something in me,
especially this year, that he and I knew I had. He would always tell
me that my major strength was my work ethic and to never lose it. When
he put me in the game he expected no drop off. He trusted me, treated
me like a man, got on me when I messed up and celebrated with me when
I did well. I will miss him yelling at us from the sidelines during
games. I almost always heard him, and if I didn't, his voice was in my

I will always love Coach Brown and I will miss him. I'm so happy for
him to be coaching with the Atlanta Falcons. I know he'll do great
things there. Needless to say, I just became a Falcons fan!

And last, but certainly not least, I will miss his family always being
there to care for and support us all. His wife and daughter have been
so sweet to us all and I love them too.


Anonymous said...

You are a quality young man. I think that it speaks volumns about your character that you appreciate what Coach Brown did for you even when you did not always agree with him. The fact that you learned life lessons from tough experiences is what it is all about. Most people do not realize how important these life lessons are.

I have been an IU fan for 40 years...attending games for 35+ years...and I have to say you are my favorite player IU has ever had.
The thing is not about what you have accomplished on the is about what you stand for off of it.

From: a Proud Alum

Anonymous said...

WOW What a testimony!!!!! we are falcons season ticket holders and have had some very tough luck. Thanks for your wonderful article about Coach Brown. We need that kind of a person here to coach, one that is respected and cares about his players. This gives me hope for the upcoming season and maybe years, just having a bright spot on the coaching staff. Thanks again for your vote of confidence in the falcons choices.

Evan said...

I appreciate the time you take to chronicle the life and thoughts of an IU football player. Your character is unquestioned and I feel lucky to have you on the Hoosiers football team. Each blog that you post is helping to build up the IU football family. Thank You.

Mike P. said...


I like the way you talk about the feelings for your coach, something that those who have never played don't really understand.

I was wondering if you have met with Coach Springer, and if you would share your thoughts about him and any difference in coaching style from him to Coach Brown.

Mike P.