Gary Brown Still Enjoying the game of Football
Beginning with his days in youth football in Williamsport, Brown made his way to All-State honors with the Millionaires before matriculating to Penn State and later to the National Football League.
Following his playing days, Brown continued his life in football as a coach at WAHS, Lycoming, Susquehanna and currently with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and he is loving every minute of it.
“It has been a tremendous journey for me,” said Brown. “I am just having a great time doing what I am doing and it has been a great learning experience for me. I thought that when I got out of football (as a player) it (the burning desire) would go away, but believe me, it never goes away.”
So how did Brown wind up in New Jersey with the Scarlet Knights?
“When I got out of it, I did some internships with the league and I went back to Williamsport and learned how to coach,” recalled Brown. “While I was doing all of those things, I was also making contacts to let people know what it was that I wanted to do. I had the opportunity to interview at certain places and it stuck with me here at Rutgers.”
When asked what his coaching experience at the high school and small college levels meant to him in his current position, he was quick to admit that it was priceless.
“All of the people who I have coached under like Steve Radocaj (Williamsport High School), Steve Briggs (Susquehanna University) and Frank Girardi (Lycoming College) have taught me many different things about what it takes to be a coach,” Brown said. “I learned so much from Frank Girardi and for that, I am forever indebted to him. He taught me what it takes not only to be a top football coach but at the same time, a top person as well. Maybe the most important thing he taught me what you have to treat these kids like they are your own. He stressed to coach them hard, but at the same time, you have to realize they are going through a lot of things in their lives. You have to emotionally identify with them, but at the same time, you want them to excel not only on the football field, but in
the classroom as well.”
During any Rutgers game, Brown is very visible on the sideline, working side-by-side with offensive coordinator John McNulty to get the plays into the offense.
“I stay with him (McNulty) and when he calls a play with formations and personnel, I am right there,“ said Brown. “When I find out what he wants, I signal things out to the players on the field. I don’t have any direct input into what is called because it is just my first year doing this and I am learning so much every day. I am more involved in
the personnel end of it and all of the groupings rather than deciding what play would work best.”
As for family, Brown is happily married with three children.
“I am married to my beautiful wife and we have three kids,” Brown proudly said. “I have two girls and a boy who is only three, but we are trying to get him used to dealing with a football.”
Although it is no Fort Knox secret that Brown had his differences of opinion with his college coach Joe Paterno, but at the same time, he was quick to point out what Paterno meant to him, not only as an athlete, but as a human being.
“They (Nittany Lions) will always be in my heart,” Brown said. “I am very, very proud of what they are doing. As for Paterno, he really helped me to become a man. I was a young guy who didn’t necessarily want to conform to things that it would take for me to become a big-time college player and I suffered for that. When I look back on it, he
(Paterno) really helped me to get where I am now. He had a big part in my life.”
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