SWT Sports Editor
In 1959 he arrived at Dublin Middle School, and in 1974 he became the first head football coach of the newly consolidated Pulaski County High School Cougar football team. After enjoying a long and fruitful life with his family and friends, David Brown passed away on Wednesday in Sebastian, Fla. at the age of 85. His passing was attributed to complications after dealing with cardiac and respiratory illnesses for several years.
Brown was born and raised on a farm in Roanoke County and graduated from Andrew Lewis High School. He joined the Navy during World War II, and served in the Pacific on a torpedo boat for most of his term. He later participated in operations in the pacific, in which he helped evacuate natives from areas to be used for post-war nuclear weapons testing.
After the war, Brown returned home and attended Concord College. His first coaching job came in nearby Blacksburg, where he coached football and wrestling in the early 1950’s. In 1959, Brown became the head coach of the Dublin High School Dukes football team, where he stayed until the two county high schools consolidated in 1974.
While coaching at Dublin High School, Brown found himself in the middle of two fierce rival schools. On one side was Pulaski High School, and on the other side was Radford High School. While the county rival game with the Orioles was always a big game, the matchup with the Bobcats was a brutal one. In one story from the archives of The Southwest Times, the Dukes vs. Bobcats game was described as “the most viciously played high school game you could ever want to see”. The final game between the two teams was played on September 4, 1973 at Dublin’s Soldiers Field in front of an estimated 10,000 fans. The Dukes won that contest 12-0.
His experience at Pulaski County High School started rough, with a 12-29 loss to his alma-mater Andrew Lewis. His team suffered a loss to G.W. Danville the following week, and then tied E.C. Glass before earning the first win in the history of Cougar football in week four. The Cougars defeated Franklin County that week by final score of 34-7. That season saw the Cougars finish with a record of 2-7-1. After five seasons, Brown resigned as the head coach of the Cougars, departing with a record of 12 wins and 23 losses.
Coach Brown remained in the area with his wife and continued to teach physical education and drivers education until he retired. He and his wife later split their time between living in Florida and in their home on Claytor Lake. They sold that home just over nine years ago to live full-time in Florida. Coach Brown once told his son in law, David Drury, that he had four main loves in life: family, football, painting, and fishing. He was an avid Virginia Tech Hokie fan, and attended games whenever possible until his health prevented it.
As a coach, Brown was known as a “X’s and O’s” kind of guy. He took Dublin High School into the newly formed New River District in 1960, and in 1963 and 1964 he coached his Dukes against a quarterback from Hillsville by the name of Frank Beamer. He later took the kids from two AA schools and faced some of the toughest competition the AAA ranks had to offer. On top of all the football and wrestling, Dave Brown helped build young boys into men in our county and the New River Valley for well over 30 years.
He will be missed by many, but forgotten by few who had the honor and privilege to know him. Funeral arrangements are planned for this weekend in Florida.