2010 Tom Brown  Sheboygan.jpgTom Brown, son of Russell and Glenore Brown grew up in the midwest having moved 17 times before college graduation. The advantage: having played for some of the finest coaches and championship programs around. "It seemed everywhere we would move had an outstanding football program, and coach. By the time I was 15, I knew I wanted to be a coach."

Football was Tom`s first love but a twist of fate was in his future. In his first year at UW-LaCrosse he was cut from the freshman football team by Bill Floyd. Coach Floyd was also the wrestling coach and urged Tom to go out for wrestling, "I was very upset with Coach Floyd and went out for wrestling to spite him. But after a week of practice I found I really loved the sport. I stayed out all four years and made some great friends and learned that I had an "eye" for the sport." Tom`s first head wrestling coaching gig was at Western Wisconsin Technical Institute during the 1969-70 season before graduating from UW-L.

Upon graduation Tom landed a job at Lightfoot School in Sheboygan Falls as a PE teacher, working with special needs students. There he worked with the Sheboygan Falls Wresting team as a volunteer assistant under Jerry Robers (Hall of Fame - 1996) for two seasons. In 1972 Tom became the head coach at Sheboygan South, a team that had only won 1 dual meet the year before. In seven seasons Brown`s teams compiled a record of 58-28-1 including two team tournament titles, one FRVC team runner-up finish, as well as a WIAA Regional Championship in 1976. During that time he also coached 3 state qualifiers including 2 place winners. It was also during that time Herb Tyler became his assistant coach. "Herb came out on the football practice field with the AD and we did an on-the-spot interview that went something like this: Tom: ?So why do you want to become an assistant wrestling coach?` Herb: ?I`m sort of interested.` Tom: ?How much experience do you have?` Tom: ?Oh - just one year of wrestling in middle school...? Tom: ?Your hired!` Little did Tom know that he had just hired a man who was to be, arguably, one of the finest assistant coaches in the state, as well as a great friend."

In 1979 Tom resigned his wrestling position at South to accept the head football job at Sheboygan North. He spent the next two winters as a wrestling official. "I think being a referee really helped me become a better coach. It was good to be on the "other side" of things. I gained a whole lot of respect for wrestling officials and carried that with me when I got back into coaching."

In 1981 the opportunity to coach wrestling at Sheboygan North became available. "I really missed coaching wrestling and Herb Tyler approached me with a proposition I couldn`t refuse. He would coach the middle school team, set up the kids program and run all of our tournaments, plus recruit wrestlers from his gym classes at North. All I had to do was coach the varsity team." In his first season at North Brown`s team went 6 - 7 in duals but with only 8 wrestlers in a 12 man line-up. In his 13 seasons the Sheboygan North his teams compiled a record of 150-50-1 including 6 straight FRVC conference titles and 2 Runner-up finishes, 3 WIAA Regional titles and 1 Sectional Dual Meet Title along with many team tournament victories. In addition, the Raiders produced 39 conference champs, 16 regional champs, 12 sectional champs and qualified 29 wrestlers to the Individual State Meet, placing 8 of them including state champion Sam Mursau. In 1994 the Raiders finished in the Final Four of the WIAA State Dual Meet Tournament, Brown`s final season as head coach. In 1989 Tom was voted WWCA District 4 Coach of the Year, as well as FRVC Coach of the Year.

Tom also served as a WWCA District 4 Representative for a number of years and WWCA Secretary for several years.

While coaching at Sheboygan North, Tom had the opportunity to coach his two sons Tim and Ryan. Tim was a conference individual runner-up and helped North win it`s first FRVC Title in 1989. Ryan was an FRVC individual champion and helped North to a top four State Team finish in 1994. Tom`s daughter, Kristin, served as a team photographer and her photos helped produce the Number One high school wrestling year book in the nation recognized by Amateur Wrestling News in 1989. He would also like to thank their mother, Pam, for all of the support she gave during those years. Tom`s sister, Helen, also deserves much thanks for her support and encouragement. She opened her house to, not only the wrestling teams but, in later years, Tom`s Cross Country teams when they traveled to Wisconsin Rapids to compete. "I couldn`t have imagined how much it would mean to me to have my family involved with wrestling. It has been very, very special."

Tom served as Herb Tyler`s assistant during the 1994-95 season before moving on, or BACK, to Sheboygan Falls to coach with Jerry Robers. Lightfoot School had closed as the students were redirected to their home districts as a result of inclusion. Tom was "absorbed" by the Sheboygan Falls School District to teach specially designed PE as well as high school PE. It was a natural for him to coach in the same building he taught in."

Tom served as Coach Robers assistant for two seasons before taking over the head job in the 1997-98 season. In the next four years Tom`s teams ran up a 47-32-1 record along with several team tournament victories including a conference and regional runner up finish in 2000. While at Falls, Brown coached 4 state qualifiers including 2 state place winners.

In addition to his family, Tom would like to thank the many assistant coaches, parents and athletes who have helped him throughout the years. "If I thought, for a moment, that I did this all by myself, I would be greatly mistaken. I have been blessed with great assistant coaches like Herb Tyler, Fred Brown, Jim Cowdy, Louie Klueger, and Mark Stalhkopf, just to name a few, who spent a significant amount of time and effort to make our teams the best they could be. "

"At North we had one of the area`s first wrestling booster clubs. Sandy Konitzer and Ray Robinson started us out and never looked back. They organized our parents into raising money to make our program special and their sons feel important. I give them a huge amount of credit for the growth of wrestling at Sheboygan North. North`s Wrestling Booster Club is still going strong today because of Sandy and Ray`s initial efforts. It amazes me how much support our parents have given over the years."

Last, but not least, Tom thanks the wrestlers who put in all the hard work to be successful. "When I was a young athlete I would hear adults say, "Kids aren`t like they used to be - they don`t have the work ethic we did back in the day." As a young coach I would hear the same thing. As a "maturing" coach I would, again, hear the same words. I never once felt like that was true. I can`t believe what my wrestlers went through in the off season, practices and meets and the adversity they overcame to achieve success. It`s very humbling."

Tom is retired, living in Sheboygan, and enjoys being active backpacking, whitewater kayaking,running, biking, playing golf and, most of all, spending time with his family including his three grandsons: Alex, Sam and Zach.