May 22, 2019

Hill’s eulogy defines Brown’s legacy

While attending the funeral service of Fresno State defensive coordinator Dan Brown Thursday, Pat Hill mentioned how significant the former coach was to the football program through his eulogy.

Coach Hill’s remembrance of Brown made me think about this movie quote Bruce Willis shared during the 1998 film “Armageddon:”

“Someone brought me here because they told you I was the best. Well, if they say I’m the best, it’s because I work with the best. You don’t trust the men you are working with, you’re as good as dead.”

If Pat Hill is considered the best football coach in the Central Valley, or the best coach in Fresno State football history, he didn’t do it alone.

For twelve years, he had Dan Brown by his side. Through good seasons and bad seasons and through sickness and health, Brown and Hill stood together. Hill built his foundation of Bulldog football with Dan Brown by his side.

With Brown running the defense, the Bulldogs were tops in scoring and total defense in two of the past five seasons. Despite its defensive struggles this past year, Fresno State surrendered a school record minus-9 rushing yards in their final home victory against New Mexico State. The win made the Bulldogs bowl eligible.

Brown is responsible for producing three Western Athletic Conference (WAC) defensive player of the year winners. Alan Harper, Garrett McIntyre and Marcus Riley were those three players who all excelled under Brown. Those three weren’t the only ones who thrived under Brown’s tutelage however.

Current NFL players Marcus McCauley, Richard Marshall and James Sanders all played for Brown. Orlando Huff, Tyrone Culver and Alan Harper also joined the pro ranks after being coached by Brown.

He will be remembered as a football coach to some people. But most people will remember the impact he made off the field.

He preached faith, family and friends to everyone around him. He was strong in his faith by waking his family up at seven in the morning for Sunday mass, even when his children hated waking up early. He was the person players went to when they had a problem. He also loved vacations with his wife of 29 years and six children.

Last semester, I was fortunate enough to see the impact Dan Brown had on others while attending an August practice. He survived brain cancer and was facing the possibility of reoccurrence. Brown was the type of person who had a shyness towards the media and declined to discuss his health. His players and Pat Hill however spoke of the impact he had.

One player was safety Moses Harris, who gave this quote to the collegian last semester:
“He told us to not let any challenges hold you back. He’s persevered through life’s challenges.”

Brown battled his cancer while coaching his defense and maintaining a positive attitude. Patt Hill admired the fact that Brown didn’t miss a practice or game. He also loved the “team first” attitude Brown displayed by not having the attention focus on him, but the task at hand.

Brown spent 12 seasons as defensive coordinator for football. He helped inspire a long-time head coach in Patt Hill, a team of over 90 players, and any Central Valley Bulldog fan.

One final stirring tribute to Brown was when Hill called on all Bulldogs, past and present and player or coach to stand up and shout this battle cry for Brown:

“We are bulldog born. We are bulldog bred. And when the time is right, we will be bulldog dead.”

Coach Dan Brown will forever be, a Fresno State Bulldog.

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