COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – The Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech University know, like so many things in life, their success today is rooted in what happened here decades ago.
"You almost hear the crowd noise in here from when he was coaching," said Exercise Science Professor LeBron Bell sitting in the historic Memorial Gym Friday.
Bell knows his longtime friend and colleague, Raymond "Bull" Brown, put TTU sports on the map.
"The word legend is kind of over used sometimes these days. He truly was a legend," Bell said.
"Bull" got his nickname from his build. He proved himself on the field and court by earning 15 letters in basketball, football, baseball and track for what was then TPI (Tennessee Polytechnic Institute). It's a record that still stands today.
"That record will never be broken because intercollegiate athletics has changed so that's going to be a record that "Bull" Brown holds from now until eternity," said Director of Athletics Mark Wilson.
After his time as a student athlete, Brown, went on to teach and coach. He ended up in the Tennessee Tech Sports, State of Tennessee Sports and Ohio Valley Conference Halls of Fame.
Even though he technically retired in 1980, his name still hangs on the door of his office inside Memorial Gym.
"He wanted it that way and we wanted that way," Bell went on to say.
"Bull" still came on campus to work out almost daily, but had one remaining goal in life. He wanted to live to be 100. Saturday he made it, and then quietly passed away three days later.
The people who knew "Bull" Brown understand the University will probably never be the same because they'll likely never have another athlete like him.
"I doubt it, but we can try. That's the way he would want it," Bell said.
Visitation is Saturday from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Cookeville. Brown's funeral will immediately follow. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and their families.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 2:24 PM EDT2013-06-19 18:24:42 GMT
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