James A. Brown

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James A. "Babe" Brown
Sport(s) Football
(Basketball, Baseball)
Biographical details
Born (1900-07-31)July 31, 1900
Star, Idaho
Died June 23, 1965(1965-06-23) (aged 64)
Caldwell, Idaho
Alma mater University of Idaho, 1924
Playing career
1920–22 Idaho
Position(s) Back
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1923–24 Idaho - (assistant)
1925–2x Lewiston HS (ID)
1932–34 Burley HS (ID)
1935–40 Moscow HS (ID)
1941–42 Idaho - (assistant)
1945–46 Idaho
1947–55 Nampa HS (ID)
1958–64 College of Idaho
1925–2x Lewiston HS (ID)
1932–35 Burley HS (ID)
1935–41 Moscow HS (ID)
1941–42 Idaho - (assistant)
1942–46 Idaho
1947–56 Nampa HS (ID)
1956–61 College of Idaho
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1943–46 Idaho - (interim)
1956–65 College of Idaho
Head coaching record
Overall 27–55–1 (.331) - football
134–127 (.513) - basketball

James Allen "Babe" Brown (July 31, 1900 – June 23, 1965)[1] was an American football coach and athletic director. He was the head coach in basketball and football at the University of Idaho in Moscow, and later a three-sport coach and athletic director at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. He also coached multiple sports at four high schools in Idaho: Lewiston, Burley, Moscow, and Nampa.[2]

Early years[edit]

Born in the farming community of Star in southwestern Idaho, Brown graduated from Boise High School in 1919 and was a multi-sport athlete at the University of Idaho in Moscow, where he lettered in football, wrestling, and baseball.[3][4] He was a hard-hitting fullback on the football team under head coaches Thomas Kelley and R.L. "Matty" Mathews.[5][6] His senior season was Idaho's first as a member of the Pacific Coast Conference. He was also a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

Following his playing days, Brown was an assistant at Idaho under Mathews,[5] then became a high school coach in 1925 at Lewiston High School, and won the state title in basketball in 1926.[7] After several years with the Bengals, he left coaching for two years to work in private business in southern Idaho, then returned to coaching in 1932 at Burley High School for three seasons. He returned to north Idaho to coach at Moscow High School in 1935, taking over the Bears' program from Gale Mix.[8]


After six years at MHS, Brown was hired across town as the freshman football coach at the University of Idaho in 1941. Brown moved up to the varsity as an assistant to head coach Francis Schmidt in 1942, but the football program went on hiatus prior to the 1943 season. In the meantime, he became acting head basketball coach in December 1942[9] and acting athletic director in 1943, when Guy Wicks[10] and George Greene joined the navy.[11][12] Brown led the UI basketball team to the northern division title of the PCC in his fourth and final season in 1946.[13] The Vandals met southern division winner California in a three-game series in Berkeley;[14] Idaho lost game one in a near-riot,[15] won game two,[16] but lost the third.[17] After Schmidt's death in September 1944, Brown was the interim head coach for the abbreviated 1945 football season and was named head coach in March 1946.[18] The Vandals posted one win in each of the two seasons for an overall 2-15 record [19] and Brown resigned at the end of November.[18]

After a dozen years residing in Moscow and six years as a collegiate coach, Brown returned to the high school level in 1947 back in southwestern Idaho at Nampa High School, where his teams won titles in football and basketball during his nine seasons with the Bulldogs. His 1950 basketball team won the state championship.[7]

College of Idaho[edit]

In 1956, Brown was hired at the College of Idaho in Caldwell as athletic director, and also served as the head coach for basketball and baseball. When head football coach Ed Troxel resigned in 1958 to go to the new Borah High School in Boise, Brown took over as head football coach of the Coyotes.[20] He stepped down as head basketball coach in 1961,[1] and as football coach and athletic director following the 1964 football season.[21][22]

Brown died in his sleep at age 64 of an apparent heart attack in June 1965 at his home in Caldwell,[6] a week before his official retirement date.[21] He and his wife LaVerne (1898–1960) are buried at Hillcrest Memorial Gardens in Caldwell.

Collegiate head coaching record[edit]


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Rank#
Idaho Vandals (Pacific Coast) (1945–1946)
1945 Idaho 1–7 1–5 9th
1946 Idaho 1–8 0–5 10th
Idaho: 2–15 1–10
College of Idaho Coyotes (NWC) (1958–1964)
1958 C. of Idaho 3–6–1 1–3–1 5th
1959 C. of Idaho 6–4 2–3 T-4th
1960 C. of Idaho 2–8 0–5 6th
1961 C. of Idaho 4–4 3–2 T-2nd
1962 C. of Idaho 5–4 2–3 4th
1963 C. of Idaho 3–6 1–4 5th
1964 C. of Idaho 1–8 0–5 6th
C. of Idaho: 25–40–1 9–25–1 [23][24]
Total: 27–55–1
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
#Rankings from final Coaches Poll.


Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Idaho Vandals (Pacific Coast) (1942–1946)
1942-43 Idaho 14-20 1-15 5th (N. div.)
1943-44 Idaho 7-16 5-11 3rd (N. div.)
1944-45 Idaho 13-20 3-13 5th (N. div.)
1945-46 Idaho 23-11 11-5 1st (N. div.) PCC Finals[25]
Idaho: 57-67 20-44
College of Idaho Coyotes (NWC) (1956–1961)
1956-57 C. of Idaho 11-15 7-8 T-4th
1957-58 C. of Idaho 14-14 8-7 T-3rd
1958-59 C. of Idaho 17-9 8-7 T-3rd
1959-60 C. of Idaho 16-13 8-7 3rd
1960-61 C. of Idaho 19-9 10-5 T-2nd
C. of Idaho: 77-60 41-34


Total: 134-127

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  1. ^ a b "Long-time Idaho coach, Babe Brown dies at 64". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. UPI. June 23, 1965. p. 1. 
  2. ^ "COI post goes to Babe Brown". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. April 9, 1956. p. 19. 
  3. ^ a b "Seniors". Gem of the Mountains, University of Idaho yearbook. 1924. p. 31. 
  4. ^ "Babe Brown to coach freshman at university". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. March 25, 1941. p. 8. 
  5. ^ a b "Babe Brown to aid Idaho coach". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. August 25, 1923. p. 14. 
  6. ^ a b "Veteran coach Babe Brown taken by death". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. June 24, 1965. p. 14. 
  7. ^ a b idhsaa.org - Basketball champions - through 2011
  8. ^ "Pupil of Matty at Moscow Hi". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. January 31, 1935. p. 11. 
  9. ^ "Guy Wicks gets his post". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. December 11, 1942. p. 13. 
  10. ^ "Wicks returns to courts after navy service". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. November 19, 1946. p. 12. 
  11. ^ "'Babe' Brown takes on more work at 'U'". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. June 2, 1943. p. 9. 
  12. ^ "Greene and Wicks named to vacant University of Idaho athletic jobs". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. March 19, 1941. p. 11. 
  13. ^ "Idaho rates underdog role for series with California". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. March 4, 1946. p. 12. 
  14. ^ "Cal-Idaho series opens tonight". Berkeley Daily Gazette. California. March 7, 1946. p. 11. 
  15. ^ "Wolfe will start tonight". Berkeley Daily Gazette. California. March 9, 1946. p. 8. 
  16. ^ "PCC title at stake tonight". Berkeley Daily Gazette. California. March 11, 1946. p. 11. 
  17. ^ Spellecy, Denny (March 12, 1946). "Bears take Pacific Coast championship with win over Idaho, 55 to 36". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. p. 9. 
  18. ^ a b "J.A. 'Babe' Brown resigns as head football coach at Idaho". Lewiston Morning Tribune. Idaho. Associated Press. November 30, 1946. p. 8. 
  19. ^ DeLassus, David. "All-Time Coaching Records - James A. Brown Records by Year". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved January 14, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Babe Brown gets Coyote grid post". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. February 20, 1958. p. 38. 
  21. ^ a b "Babe Brown will retire". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Washington. November 21, 1964. p. 8. 
  22. ^ "Idaho's Babe Brown dies". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. June 24, 1965. p. 18. 
  23. ^ nwcsports.com - football history - accessed 2012-04-02
  24. ^ College Football Reference - records - College of Idaho - 1958-67 - accessed 2012-04-04
  25. ^ "Bears take Pacific Coast championship with win over Idaho, 55 to 36". Spokesman-Review. Spokane, Washington. March 12, 1946. p. 9. 
  26. ^ nwcsports.com - basketball history - accessed 2012-04-15
  27. ^ collegeofidaho.edu - athletics - men's basketball - coaching records - accessed 2012-04-15

External links[edit]