Ole Miss Football Legend Allen Brown Passes Away

Published 9:48 am Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Ole Miss lost one of its football legends Monday, in Natchez, Mississippi, with the passing of Allen Brown, 76, following a lengthy illness.

Visitation will be from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, at the Family Life Center, at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church, 511 Jefferson Street in Natchez, with the service to immediately follow. Laird Funeral Home is in charge.

Born on March 2, 1943 in Natchez, Allen was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, L.W.”Buck” Brown, Lavern “Preacher” Brown, William “Willie” Brown, Sarah Lee Forbes, Louise Brashier, Lorraine Havard and Jerry Brown. He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Margaret Burkes Brown, son Tim Brown (Le) of Vicksburg, Mississippi, daughter Jodi Kelley (Chris) of Natchez, son Burkes Brown of Granbury, Texas, his beloved grandchildren and sister Sharon Ledbetter (Randall) of Iuka, Mississippi.

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A Natchez native, Brown earned three letters (1962-64) at Ole Miss while playing for legendary coach Johnny Vaught and served as co-captain of the 1964 Rebel team.

He was a first-team All-America selection by the Associated Press, Time Magazine, and The Sporting News as a senior in 1964, rated f­irst-team All-Southeastern Conference in 1963 and 1964 and was chosen to the Sophomore All-SEC team in 1962.

Although plagued by numerous injuries during his collegiate career, Brown help­ed lead the Rebels to a 22-6-3 overall record, two Sugar Bowls and one Bluebonnet Bowl. He was a member of the 1962 team which compiled a perfect 10-0 record, won the SEC title and also earned a share of the National Championship as the Billingsley, Litkenhous and Sagarin rating systems selected the Rebels No. 1. The 1963 squad also won the SEC crown and Ole Miss finished ranked in the national polls all three years Brown played for the Rebels.

During his three-year varsity career, Brown was more than a blocking tight end as he caught 51 passes for 584 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 11.5 yards per reception. He led the team in receptions and pass receiving yards (16-221) during his 1963 junior season. He also had two career kickoff returns for 21 yards and blocked a punt against Tennessee, which led to a touchdown.

A 6-4, 225 pound two-way player who also saw extensive action as a defensive end, Brown received the Leadership Award from the Birmingham Ole Miss Alumni Chapter. Following his career at Ole Miss, he was selected to participat­e in the 1964 Blue-Gray Game, the 1965 Chicago All-Star game and the 1965 Senior Bowl.

Brown was inducted into Ole Miss Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. He was also selected as a member of the Southeastern Conference Legends Class of 2004, received the Ole Miss M-Club Lotterhos Service Award in 2012 and the All-American Football Foundation 35-Year All-American Award in 2001.

Two of his sons also played at Ole Miss as Tim earned two letters as an offensive guard (1988-89) and was co-captain of the 1989 Rebel squad, while Burkes lettered twice as an offensive tackle (1991-92). Allen Brown’s grandson, Ben, is currently an offensive lineman for the Rebels, having already earned two letters (2018-19), and will be a junior in 2020. Allen’s brother, Jerry Brown, was a tackle at Ole Miss (1959-60-61) and his nephew, Alton Brown, also played at Ole Miss, earning letters in 1971 and 1972.

Selected in the third round (38th overall) of the 1965 National Football League Draft by the Green Bay Packers and in the third round of the 1965 American Football League Draft by the San Diego Chargers, Allen Brown played two years (1966-67) for Coach Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers and was part of helping the team win Super Bowls I and II. His pro career was cut short due to a series of injuries.  During his brief career with Green Bay, Brown saw action in 19 NFL games, catching three passes for 43 yards (14.3 yards per reception) and returning one kickoff for 13 yards. His roommate with the Packers was center Bill Curry, who would later coach at Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia State.

Playing at Natchez High School, Brown rated first-team All-Big Eight Conference honors his senior season and was second-team All-Big Eight as a junior. He was also named to All-Southern squad. Coached in high school by Jack Davis and Van Stewart, Brown played in the 1961 Mississippi High School All-Star Game.  He earned three prep letters in football, three in basketball, two in baseball and two in track.

When it came to his dedication to community service, Allen Brown led by example and gave generously of his time to the Grace United Methodist Church Men’s Club, Natchez Children’s Home, United Way, National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame, American Cancer Society, Natchez Regional Medical Center, Joe Fortunato Golf Tournament and many other worthy causes. He was also a member of the Ole Miss Alumni Association and the Ole Miss “M” Club.


Via Brad Sheffield / Ole Miss Athletics