Brown was nominated for the Hall by Oregon State back in November of 2013. That original list of approximately 1,500 former standouts from across the U.S. has now been narrowed to 75 players and six coaches, and Brown is one of them.
“Just being nominated, that’s great. Making the cut, I’m honored,” Brown said Friday.
Joining Brown on the semifinal list are such greats as Jumbo Elliott, D.J. Dozier, Bob Crable, Keith Byars, Brian Bosworth, Willie Gault, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp, Ron Rivera and Lorenzo White, to name a few. Among the coaches nominated are Danny Ford, Bill Snyder and Darryl Rogers, who coached at Fresno State, Michigan State and Arizona State.
The College Football Hall of Fame honors the all-time greats who have played college football. The 2015 class will be announced on Jan. 8, 2016, just prior to the college championship game.
Brown said those who made the cut will now be further evaluated. He said the nominees will be broken into regional sections, with each region selecting just a few for final consideration. The Hall of Fame Committee will then make the final decisions. Brown said only 15 to 20 players will be inducted.
Brown is a charter member of the Porterville High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He’s also a member of the Oregon State Athletic Hall of Fame.
He played for the Beavers from 1970-72 as a middle linebacker. In those days, statistics were not kept on defensive players, but Brown knows he ranks up there among the best, and seeing his name on such a prestigious list is humbling.
According to the Hall’s bio of Brown, he holds the Oregon State record for career tackles (415), was a two-time first team All-Pac 8 selection, led the conference in interceptions (7) in 1971 and set a Pac-8 record with 186 tackles in 1972.
He noted as far as he knows, no one from this area has ever gotten this far in being enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
“It kind of validates my life — what I’ve done,” he said.
Among the criteria to be considered for the Hall of Fame is to be recognized as a first-team All-American by the NCAA, which Brown easily did during his time with the Beavers. He was named an All-American by nine organizations and as a first-team All-American by seven organizations.
He was a three-year varsity letterman with the Beavers. He came to Oregon State as a fullback, but moved to linebacker as a freshman. He was a two-time All-Pac 8, two-time All-Coast and two-time team defensive most valuable player.
His school record of 186 tackles as a senior still stands. As a junior, he lead the Beavers with 134 tackles and had one of the most memorable games in college football history as a junior, although it’s a “haunting” memory for Brown because Oregon State lost the game.
In a loss to Stanford, Brown finished with 22 tackles and four interceptions. After his senior season, he played in the East-West Shrine Game, the Hula Bowl and the Coaches All-American Bowl. Brown was the team captain for the West in the East-West Shrine Game and co-captain of the North Squad in the Hula Bowl, a game in which he almost equaled the numbers he put up against Stanford with 19 tackles and three interceptions. He also had 15 tackles and an interception in the Coaches All-American Bowl.
Brown is a now a teacher and coach. He was part of the crew that led Robert F. Kennedy High School to a Valley championship last season. He said the award can be an inspiration for any young athlete.
“It’s about Porterville; about bringing attention to our community in a positive way,” he said. “We produce kids who can compete.”
He gave credit to two former coaches, Sim Iness and Bob Otto. “They put the fire in my belly,” he said.
According to the Hall of Fame, of the 5 million individuals who have played college football since Princeton first battled Rutgers on Nov. 6, 1869, only 963 players been inducted.
By RICK ELKINS firstname.lastname@example.org