Where Their Story Began: Findlay Family Football
Football is not the only thing that helped to prop Brown up back in his days as an Oiler. Both his brother Doug ’91 and his sister Angela ’92 were students on the Findlay campus at the same time, and together the Browns, through their love of Findlay, football and family, navigated the rigors of college life. Their legacy at UF carries on to the present day for Dave’s son Jake, a fullback on the current Oiler squad.
Dave was recruited to play football at Findlay College, and was interested in its new-at-the-time environmental program, started in 1986. He quickly took to the school and almost immediately knew he was right where he needed to be. “What I loved most was the people,” he said. “Mostly good midwestern folks. Every time I think of my college years, they are always good memories.”
Part of those early memories included his brother, who, after graduating from high school and serving in the active Army, joined his brother at Findlay College and walked onto the football team. “We came to visit Findlay and absolutely loved the place,” said Doug, a regional sales rep for national rental source Rain for Rent. “We both thought Coach Strahm was amazing and wanted to play football for him.”
“We ended up playing all four years together,” Dave added.
Not to be outdone by her brothers, Angela Brown, now a Health, Environment, Safety and Security Manager for Marathon Petroleum Company in Findlay, came along during their junior year and was the equipment manager for the Oilers football team. “She helped both of us get through school,” Doug said. “She is amazing and an absolute genius.”
And so, the three maneuvered their way through the college and athletic life, always there for each other like family should be. The siblings each had their own path to follow, but also shared similar academic pursuits. Each focused, at least in part, an interest in environmental studies—Dave majored in Hazardous Materials Management; Doug focused on Marketing while minoring in HazMat Management, and Angela got her degree in Environmental Management—and feel that their time at Findlay had a big hand in who they’ve become. “The leadership and people skills I learned from school and my fraternity [Sigma Pi] totally changed my life,” Doug said. “And I have never been involved in something so rewarding as being a part of the Oiler football team. Some of the greatest friends I have ever met came from those things.”
Angela added that her time at Findlay prepared her for the career that she loves, and also helped to mold her faith while being part of campus ministries.
“The environmental classes I took were spot on when I needed to apply that knowledge in the workplace,” followed Dave. “The University got me an intern job each summer so I would travel all over the country cleaning up hazardous waste sites. Tremendous experience.”
Now, a younger and fourth member of the Brown family, in the form of Jake, has the honor of continuing the gridiron and academic legacy. He confessed that “family ties definitely played a part” in his decision to come to UF, but felt that going to a small school would give him the most chances for success. “It gives me the opportunity to play football at a higher level in a historically successful program, and my aunt [Angela] who I’m close with has always lived in Findlay, so there was a familiarity with the area. My dad playing here and then moving forward to a successful career did play a factor, but at the end of the day, he and my family just want me to be happy.”
Jake shares a similar perspective with his family about the benefits of football and friends while being at UF. “Playing football while being a full-time student will help me succeed when the time comes to get a career,” he said. “The University wants you to succeed, and there are a lot of support systems in place. Coach Wagner, for instance, the strength and conditioning coach; buying into what he does to develop you not only as an athlete but as a man is something I will always carry with me. And football has given me a brotherhood. I’ve only been here for a year and a half and I’ve made some of the best friends that I know will be in my life way after school.”
There’s a special someone looking down on the Brown family, too. As the siblings were the first family members on their dad’s side to graduate from college, their late father was particularly pleased. “He was so proud that all three of us went to and graduated from Findlay,” Doug said. “Graduation was one of the only times I’d seen my dad tear up. Jake was very close to my dad, and I told him the day he signed his letter of intent at UF that Grandpa would be so proud of him carrying on the Oiler tradition.”