HOUSTON – John Wooden once said, “A good coach can change a game. A great coach can change a life.” With a phenomenal athletic coaching record which includes: 203 wins, 101 losses and one tie; Coach Charles Brown’s legacy is one which places him on a platform to compete with some of the world’s greatest coaches. However, it is not his preeminent coaching record alone, which has established him as a Legendary Coach. For, he has built a world-class operation producing award-winning: registered gray Brahman, golden certified F1s and an exceptional line of Brahman herd bulls at his Lazy B-5 Ranch in Bryan, with an origin dating back over four decades ago. At the blessed age of 90-years-old, Coach is still just as active and humorous as a young lad.
From Student to Coach
Coach Charles Brown, the son of a sharecropper hails from Montgomery County. He was birthed into a religious environment by Reverend Abe and Mary Miller-Brown, who were leaders in the church serving as Pastor and Mission President. Being his parents’ only son, he was reared with four sisters. He gained experience in the farming industry early on by working alongside his father. During our interview he shared, he enjoyed working with his father so much that he asked him if he could quit school to work with him. At the time, his father had a fencepost contract and obliged his young son’s request and told him to be ready Monday morning. Three days later, Coach changed his mind and told his father, “I think I want to go back to school tomorrow.” But, his father said, “No, let’s hold you out a couple more days.” The following Monday Coach was overjoyed at the privilege to return to school.
Though raised in a segregated society, Coach explained the atmosphere never bothered him much. His father was a self-employed contractor. Therefore, he expressed, “We never had much dealing with the Whites, unless we were working on a contract.” Positively reflecting back on his youth, he said, “I don’t remember ever having a hungry day in my life – we didn’t know we were poor.” He continued, “But, of course I only had one Sunday outfit that I wore to church and took it off until it was time to go back the next Sunday.” Overall, Coach regarded his childhood experience as a “good one”, as he worked for his father and later cut and hauled puck-wood and timber as a teenager.
As a student, he excelled in athletics and academics as evident by becoming Spelling Bee champion in middle school; and graduating in 1945, from Lawson High School (Montgomery) in the top 5 of his class at the age of 16. His brilliant athletic ability was commended when he was awarded an athletic scholarship to Texas College. Besides his $5/month tuition, his scholarship paid for everything else. During his four years and a quarter tenure at Texas College he excelled in football, track and baseball. After earning his Bachelor of Arts in Education from Texas College in Tyler (1950), he went on to serve in the United States Armed Forces in the Field Artillery Division.
While in the military, Coach never received any rank, as most Blacks who served in the service at that time. However, he shared that he enjoyed traveling the states and serving in Germany and other regions. Three months after fulfilling his commitment to the U.S. Armed Forces, Coach married Carolyn, the love of his life in 1955.
The Making of a Coach
Initially Coach had plans to start a trucking company. Working as a “grease monkey” at a service station, he was saving up his money to pursue his dream when his plans were altered. As it was, his former principal had his eye on him ever since his “glory days” at Texas College. The principal visited the service station to speak with Coach’s employer at the time. He asked the boss for permission for Coach to have a day off and he complied. He then told Coach to put on some decent attire because he was taking him to get a job the next day. Coach responded, “Yes sir.” The following day, he was taken to Shepherd and introduced to the principal of the school there. Coach said, “My principal told him, ‘This is the man I told you would be a good person for you.’ The principal said, ‘OK’ and that was the interview.” The rest is Legendary Coach history.
The Legendary Coach
Since that time, Coach has served as Head Coach and Recruiter at four Texas high schools and one university including: Dixon High School (Shepherd); Booker T. Washington High School (Conroe); George Washington Carver High School and Forest Brook High School in Houston and Texas A&M University (Recruiter). In addition to being an outstanding Coach and Mentor to thousands of Texans, Coach has demonstrated exceptional qualities as a visionary. He founded the football program at Dixon High School; helped to organize the first Armed Forces Football Team in Wertheim, Germany and served as Player-Coach in 1954-1955; this feat solidified his leadership and athletic talents as the team won the Main Conference in its first year of play.
Furthermore, his coaching resume boasts of: 2 undefeated State Championship in football, 1 State Championship in baseball, 3 State Finalist in football, 2 Zone Championships in football, 1 Tri-Zone Championship in football and 9 District Championships. With a repertoire such as his, the only surprise that came out of his 1999 induction into Hall of Honor for the Texas High School Coaches Association, is that it took so long.
An honoree of many distinctions, Coach was surprised by his players from B.T. Washington High School – after a reunion celebration which initiated a scholarship in his honor for area students in Conroe. He also published an article entitled, “Discipline at G. W. Carver” in the Texas Coach magazine in October 1975. As a recognized legend and sought-after speaker, Coach has been the keynote speaker at the Henry Franka Football Clinic, the THSCA Region 5A Meeting, multiple athletic banquets, numerous Black History programs and a plethora of other events.
Over the years, Coach has been the recipient of a wealth of awards including: Third All-time Leader in the Greater Houston Area (1983), District 21 AAAA Coach of the Year (Baytown Sun), AA Coach of the Year (Texas Southern University), THSCA Award of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in the Coaching Profession with over 200 Football victories, THSCA 25 Year Membership Award, THSCA Award of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in the Coaching Profession and Prairie View Interscholastic (PVILCA) Hall of Honor 2006.
Additionally, Coach has provided significant leadership in the coaching community in a variety of roles. Formerly, he was a Board Member for the annual Henry Franka Football Clinic in San Antonio and participated every year in various leadership capacities in the annual Texas High School Coaching School (THSCA). He also served as a Committee Member for the Texas Educational Desegregation Technical Assistance Center and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also held memberships in several organizations including: Southwestern Athletic Conference Football Officials Association, THSCA Selection Committee Member for the All-Star High School Games and THSCA President Elect Committee.
Another Level of Coaching
As it relates to Lazy B-5 Ranch, an enterprise of Coach and Carolyn Brown, the pair have built a world class operation using state-of-the-art herd management techniques. These initiatives include: herd health management using the Texas A&M Large Animal Veterinarians and high-quality feeding programs based on high nutrient grasses and hay. Lazy B-5 Ranch has participated in research programs in partnership with Texas A&M University.
As leader, Coach has worked with the Texas Department of Agriculture to host international visitors and buyers from Africa, South America and Central America. He is just as competitive with his ranching endeavors as he was during his athletic coaching career. To that regard, he has earned numerous awards in the field including: winning pens at Texas Livestock Show and Rodeo Annual F1 Sale, at Sartwelle’s Consignment Sale in Sealy and at the Annual Brahman and F1 Sale in Wharton. He has also received several Reserve Champion Pens for F1 Heifers awarded by the American Brahman Breeders Association, multiple first place awards in the Brazos County Hay Producers Hay Show, as well as Outstanding Leadership Honoree Award by the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
Coach has been a leader in and member of various cattle organizations including: the American Brahman Breeders Association, the Texas Southwestern Cattleman Association and the Certified F1 Female Program Association. He has served as an executive leader with the Brazos County Area Hay Producer’s Association (Chairman), the Robertson County Beef Improvement Association (Chairman), Robertson County Farm Bureau (Board Member), Texas Brahman Breeders Association (Board Member) and Brazos County Beef Cattle Association (Board Member).
In keeping with his community service, Coach Brown served the State of Texas as a director on the State Pest Control board and as a director on the Landowners Association of Texas board. Aside from his studies at Texas College, Coach has earned his Master of Science in Administration from Prairie View A & M University in 1960 and completed postgraduate studies at the University of San Francisco.
Today, Coach continues to live a Christ-centered life with his wife of over 60-years, Carolyn Joyce Sadberry Brown. He is the proud father of three daughters, Daphne, Pamela and Candace; three son-in-law’s, William Pradia, the Late Ray Taylor and Artis Johnson; two granddaughters and one grandson.