Halftime Celebration Of Former Razorback 'Trailblazer' Darrell Brown Worth Watching

by Chris Bahn  on Friday, Oct. 7, 2011 6:09 pm  

This story is from the archives of ArkansasSports360.com.

Every week Arkansas seems to be honoring somebody for something. Former players are brought in as honorary team captains, boosters are applauded by the school for giving money to the latest building project.

It’s surely nice for the person being honored. Rarely, though, do others take notice to the in-game presentations over the course of the game. Those breaks in action are often viewed as a great time to check other scores, hit the bathroom, grab a hot dog or sneak a taste from a flask.

This week you’ll want to take notice. Pay attention when you hear the name Darrell Brown over the loudspeaker.

Brown was the first black student-athlete at Arkansas. Possibly the South. He walked on in 1965 and spent an unfathomably difficult year-plus trying to prove to players and Coach Frank Broyles that he belonged.

Arkansas will celebrate Brown for paving the way for “thousands of African-American student-athletes at the University of Arkansas.” What Brown did wasn’t viewed quite in those terms as he was walked on in 1965.

National columnist Dan Wetzel chronicles the hardships that Brown faced in an amazing piece posted today on Yahoo! Sports. Wetzel, arguably the best in the business, details the year Brown spent on the team and his life in the decades that followed.

Brown, who graduated from the UA law school in 1972 and went on to a successful law career in Arkansas, will be honored as part of the Razorback Athletics’ Trailblazer Series. His daughter Dee Dee Brown-Campbell was an All-American track athlete at Arkansas and worked in the athletic department for a time.

It's an amazing success story considering the hardships Brown faced while trying to walk-on. Here’s a passage from Wetzel’s outstanding story, which begins with details of Brown’s first day at practice:

[Brown] failed to recognize this was a full-contact “drill,” one that called for 11 players on the kick team and just one on the return: him, the black guy.

Until he fielded the kick and began to run up field, Brown failed to realize no blockers stood in front of him, he hadn’t a prayer in the world.

This was kill-the-man-with-the-ball, 11-on-1 violence assured.

“They were good at gang tackling,” he said. “Especially me.”

 

 

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