Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local Sports

July 9, 2014

Hop Brown gave us a life to remember

July 9, 2014 — The saucy and sometimes zany characters you run across in life are always the most memorable.

In this job, I’ve had the absolute privilege of covering some of these memorable characters who routinely fed us quotes that drew a chuckle from readers.

Those one-liners were always great for the story, but when it came down to it, it was still how well did they do their job.

It’s one thing to be clever, it’s another to be successful.

Coaches who had a sense of humor about themselves or even their teams did bring some levity to the fact that, yes, it is just a game.

But fans never find losing funny.

The late John “Hop” Brown was not only a clever guy with the tongue, but also one of the best basketball coaches I’ve been around.

And he was serious when he needed to be serious with his players, fans and even the media.

But at the end of the day, he was that basketball coach who you never minded interviewing after a game. He was honest in a refreshing kind of way and you usually left his office feeling good. I always made it a point to stop by his office before the game, too. We’d share some laughs and maybe even an episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” before the Lady Comets devoured their opponent (which they usually did).

His players were a lot like him when it came to toughness and knowing how to play the game. They did it his way and only his way. Hop Brown was a fierce competitor who didn’t like to lose. He found nothing funny about defeat, either.

Hop Brown was more than a coach, though. He was a husband and a father, a mentor to so many young women in Olive Hill who played basketball for him.

That week in March 2000 when West Carter captured the girls state basketball championship is a moment the town and this area will never forget.

It’s one of the most memorable events I’ve covered for this newspaper.

A lot of the reason why was Hop Brown, who had the statewide media eating out of his hand like he had us most of the time.

Hop was simply being Hop.

When he was diagnosed with the brain cancer that eventually took his life, it was a blow to anybody who knew him.

It was a deja vu moment for me, too. My father died from the same type of brain cancer only the year before. It was almost like watching it all over again.

Hop fought hard as we knew he would, even trying to coach through some of it. Eventually, though, it took him away from us.

Seven years ago, his wife, Sharon, and Hop’s children started the Hop Brown Relay for Life Golf Scramble at Eagle Trace Golf Course in Morehead.

Gerad Parker, who married Hop’s youngest daughter, Kandi, has spearheaded the event that so far has raised $50,000 for the Relay for Life cancer research.

“It’s one of those things that puts thrills and chills in your eyes,” Parker said.

It started out at the nine-hole course at Carter Caves, but kept growing so they moved it to Eagle Trace.

Last year, there was a full field of 48 teams and this year will be 50 teams with morning and afternoon starts.

You will also get your belly full with three meals provided.

“We’ve had some of them stay for all three meals,” Parker said. “About five guys played 36 holes last year.”

Friends of Hop have supported the cause every year of its existence. The next tournament will be a week from Saturday.

Hop would be proud of having his name on an event that benefits others. He would also be the life of the party if he could join us.

I could see him driving around in a golf cart and stopping to razz somebody at every hole. Then he’d pat you on the back and build you back up or maybe even teach you something.

“If he were alive today, we’d put him at a hole and he’d work as a celebrity,” Parker said. “He’d be the biggest fundraiser we ever had.”

Parker has much respect for his father-in-law as a coach “who could have coached on any level of basketball” but more as a person who truly cared for others.

“You hear a lot of stories about Hop but that’s what you hear more than anything else, about how he was with people,” Parker said. “He made everybody around him feel important.

“A guy like that deserves to be remembered.”

Truly, Hop Brown will never be forgotten — at least not in these parts.

1
Text Only
Local Sports
  • F-1 Ben Jordan.JPG West Carter’s Ben Jordan

    West Carter sophomore Ben Jordan likes the spotlight on his team more than just himself. However, the two-sport athlete in Olive Hill turned heads throughout the 16th Region whether it is on the hardwood or on the diamond.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • F-2 Cole Boggs.JPG Carter County Wildcats shutout by Cincinnati

    With the start of high school football preseason practices, college and professional just right around the corner, one team in Carter County has been throwing the pigskin around for almost two months.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • F-3 Jalen Simmons.JPG KCU football releases 2014 schedule

    Kentucky Christian University will play in four different states during the 2014 football season. The KCU Knights will kick off the 2014 season with an out-of-state trip to Cookeville to face Tennessee Tech on Aug. 28 in a Thursday night clash.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • F-1 Taylor Hickle.JPG Area teams compete in 7-on-7 passing camp

    Several area football teams are not wasting any time after the dead period to see how some kids compete.

    July 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • F-2 Kristen Mayo.JPG Pass the ‘Mayo’

    East Carter sophomore point guard Kristen Mayo has played basketball for as long as she can remember.

    July 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • F-3 Conner Robinson.jpg Former Raider Robinson to play baseball at Northern Kentucky

    After sitting out just two games over the past two seasons, Connor Robinson is perfectly fine with having to prove himself yet again to earn playing time.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Running the Point: The countdown is on

    The dead period is over. For anyone who might not know what that means, it’s the mandated two-week layoff for any high school function.

    July 16, 2014

  • F-1 Trace Tackett.JPG 11-12 Morehead All-Stars claim area championship

    The 11-12-year-old Morehead All-Stars were not used to playing from behind. Down two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, they hit four straight singles to pull ahead for good as they defeated the Olive Hill All-Stars 9-7 to claim the Area 1 District 6 Championship.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • F-2 Ben Wilburn.JPG Olive Hill forces rematch in Area 1

    The 11-12-year-old Olive Hill All-Stars already had one loss to Morehead heading into Wednesday’s elimination game.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • Three KCU programs earn NAIA Scholar status

    Three programs at Kentucky Christian University were named NAIA Scholar Teams for the 2013-14 academic year, the school’s athletic program announced.

    July 9, 2014

Poll