by Dent Thorpe
March 30, 1985
Brown To Miss Coaching Pine Valley
One of the finest coaches in Chautauqua County and Western New York, Bob Brown, retired last June as a teacher and coach.
"I'm going to miss it (baseball)," Brown said. "I don't miss the teaching. I'm having fun substitute teaching subjects like music, ag, math etc. I'm also a substitute bus driver. I'm keeping busy."
Besides his part-time teaching, Brown is still active with the credit union audit committee and is a member of the Town of Dayton council.
In addition to coaching just about every sport at Pine Valley during his career, Brown was also a physical education teacher and a principal.
Brown was born and raised in South Dayton and graduated from South Dayton High School in 1942. After a three-year stint in the Army engineers and earning a bachelor of sciences degree at Cortland State, he started his coaching at Whitesville, a small school 13 miles from Wellsville, before returning to his alma mater.
The veteran coach spent three years at Whitesville. "We had 32 boys in high school and 23 were on the basketball team," Brown recalled.
Brown, armed with a scrapbook of his earlier years and a manila envelope filled with clippings from his later years, was bringing back many of his fine memories the other evening.
The South Dayton native thumbed through the scrapbook, stopped and talked about numerous highlights of his coaching and playing career.
"In 1942, the South Dayton basketball team won the County League Two title with an undefeated record," he said. "I was a starting guard. The same year I also played baseball with the Falconer American Legion team that won the county championship."
Brown entered the service in March 1943 and was discharged in March 1946. During his service days he spent time at the University of Santa Clara and played baseball.
Following his stint in the army, he went to Cortland and received his degree in health and physical education.
In 1948, the South Dayton athlete received All-American status on the Cortland soccer team. "I was the right halfback," he said. "The names of the positions today have changed."
During his soccer playing days at Cortland, Brown noted, "Springfield was No. 1 in the nation. We lost to them 1-0 on a penalty kick."
He added, "I scored my only goal in my soccer career in a game against West Point. We won 3-1. Defensemen didn't score goals in that era."
Brown also was an outstanding baseball player. He signed a professional contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers and was sent to Nashua, New Hampshire to play for Manager Greg Mulleavy, a former Jamestown Falcons manager and resident.
The retired teacher noted, "I set a record for handling seventeen chances at second base, nine putouts and eight assists, without an error, in a single game."
After Brown received his first coaching and teaching assignment at Whitesville, he played for Wellsville of the PONY League.
"I did a considerable amount of driving nights after teaching school, especially if Wellsville was on the road," he offered. "One night sticks in my mind very clearly in a game at Batavia. That night I hit two homeruns and had five runs batted in in a 6-5 win. I'm not known as a power hitter."
Brown started his 31-year stint at South Dayton and later Pine Valley in the fall of 1953.
"In those early years, the physical education teacher was the coach for all sports and boys and girls physical education," Brown stated.
The son of Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey Brown coached several outstanding athletes. "I couldn't single out any one person. I had Mel Wolfe and Lamont Ennis sign professional baseball contracts. Bill and Bruce Bergey signed professional football contracts, but I wouldn't dare to say they were the best athletes I ever coached. I had numerous others who didn't sign pro contracts."
While at South Dayton and Pine Valley, Brown was the coach of football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, track and volleyball teams.
During his tenure at the school, he received his release from the Dodgers so he could play semi-professional baseball. He joined the Steel Partition Bombers, one of the finest clubs in Western New York. He was a member of the team that went to Wichita, Kansas to play in the National Baseball Congress Tournament.
"We had two Pullman railroad cars and lived in them while participating in the tournament," Brown recalls about his trip to Wichita.
During his teaching years, Brown took graduate studies at Penn State and received his master's degree from Alfred University and a certificate in administration from St. Bonaventure.
Besides being Director of Physical Education and Athletics, Brown also was the high school building principal and physical education teacher.
When quizzed about coaching records, number of championships and sectional titles he has won, Brown answered, "I honestly don't know. I believe I had about 100 football victories, but I have no idea about the other sports."
The retired teacher and coach, who looks much younger than 60 years old, pointed out, "My older brother, Lou Brown, would play catch with me and my father would hit me ground balls and fly balls. Lou got me interested in playing for the Bombers."
Bob was the next to youngest of eight children, with three brothers and four sisters. "Lou brought me up in baseball," he said.
Brown and his wife June have been married 34 years and have two daughters and a son.
The oldest daughter, Wendy, is married to Mike Cummings, who is the baseball, basketball and football coach at Mayville Central School. They have a 9-month old daughter, Chelsey Lyn, the lone grandchild for the Browns.
The other daughter, Jill, is an elementary teacher at Lydonville, near Medina. She is the junior varsity soccer and basketball coach at the Section 5 school. She is also employed at the Lockport Nautilus Fitness Center.
The only son, Brent, is a sophomore at Jamestown Community College and a member of the Jayhawks baseball team.
The Brown and Cummings families are planning a trip to Florida at the end of the month and plan to see Brent playing baseball with JCC.
Recalling his years of coaching, Brown said, "I loved what I did. It's been my life since I was a child."
Brown added, "I shouldn't have been coaching baseball last year after I had knee surgery, but I didn't want to give it up my final year. That was a year with great satisfaction. I didn't have a championship caliber team, but we won the title. The kids played their hearts out for me to make my final year a winner."
"Coaching has been very rewarding. I have had the privilege to work with some tremendous students, teachers, coaches, athletic directors and administrators in Chautauqua County over the years."
Brown has started a new career. "It's a money accumulation plan with a company out of Buffalo. Several area coaches are involved. I don't expect to be selling all the time. I'll be watching my son play baseball at JCC and will find time for some rounds of golf."
He will also be watching Pine Valley and perhaps Mayville play high school baseball this spring.
The additional financial assistance of the community is critical to the success of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame. We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations for their generous support.