By Scott Kindberg
As a youngster, Brent Brown would follow his father, legendary Pine Valley Central School coach Bob Brown, throughout Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties for Panthers' games on the gridiron, on the hardwood and on the diamond.
Randolph coach Brent Brown guided the Cardinals to a 42-13 victory over Chester of Section 9 in the state Class D title game.
P-J?photo by Scott Reagle
''He coached football, basketball and baseball, so that's what you did,'' Brent said. ''If you weren't playing in a game as a kid, you were at a game. ... It was kind of a fun way to grow up.''
It was during those formative years that Brent not only learned about the nuances of the sports his dad was directing, but he also discovered that he would like to coach them one day, too.
Like father, like son.
Here's guessing that Bob, a Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Class of 1986, would be pretty proud of Brent these days.
''My father has been gone for a couple years,'' said Brent, who just completed his first season as varsity head football coach at Randolph Central School after years as an assistant, ''but the reflex after every single game is to grab the phone and call him.''
Imagine the stories they could share.
In no particular order, Brent could tell his dad about senior tailback Chris Doubek, who set a Section 6 single-season rushing record on his way to being named the New York State Sportswriters Association Class D Player of the Year; he could regale him about the dominance of a huge offensive line that cared more about blocking assignments than it did about garnering newspaper headlines; and he could paint a picture of the scene at the Carrier Dome after the Cardinals captured their second straight New York State Public High School Athletic Association title and fourth since 2005 with a 42-13 shellacking of Chester of Section 9.
Not a bad rookie season, huh?
Taking over for the retiring Pat Slater, who guided the Cardinals to state titles in 2005, 2009 and 2012, Brent led Randolph to a 13-0 record, which included playoff victories over Maple Grove/Chautauqua Lake in the Section 6 championship, Red Jacket in the Far West Regional and Tioga, 35-6, in the state semifinal.
''Pat laid the foundation,'' Brent said. ''We went right by the same stuff we did in the past. Why would we change?''
Armed with a veteran staff that includes Kevin Hind, Nate Armella, Jon Peterson, Greg Sherlock and Chad Slade, Brown successfully made the transition from defensive coordinator - a position he'd held for two decades under Slater - to the man calling the shots in all areas.
Yet, he wants no credit.
''It seemed like a normal year,'' said Brent, The Post-Journal's Coach of the Year.
If you're from Randolph, that usually means being sized for a championship ring.
For those wondering, Brown said, the ring ceremony will be held sometime in March, four months after the Cardinals won at the Carrier Dome.
''We did way too much laughing (during the season),'' Brent said. ''I'll never get another group like it. They're not only good football players, but they're very, very loose. I hope they had as much fun as I did.''