Gary Brown Way, former Penn State running back immortalized in Central PA

The city of Williamsport Pennsylvania honors former Penn State and NFL running back Gary Brown, renaming the street he grew up on.
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Williamsport Pennsylvania, birthplace of Little League and once known as the lumber capital of the world, but for former NFL and Penn State running back Gary Brown, it was simply known as home. Now, after Williamsport officially renamed Lycoming Street, Gary Brown Way, he will be forever linked to his town.

Brown and his brother Kevin grew up on Lycoming Street and after losing Gary to a battle with cancer in 2022, Kevin was around to see his brother immortalized in their hometown. Mayor Derek Slaughter who introduced the idea to rename one of the city's streets after the late star, said, "He really cared about Williamsport, cared about the community, cared about the kids."

From 1987 to 1990, Brown played running back at Penn State, with the exception of his junior year, where the running back room was crowded. Head coach Joe Paterno recognized Brown's abilities could not go unused and switched him to defensive back. Brown accepted the change and put the team first. "Basically you have to be a team player first, you have to understand that it's not about the individual, it's about the team and what you can do to help the team get to goals," Brown stated on the position change so many years ago.

Indeed, his words rang true. During that year's 1989 Holiday Bowl against BYU, Brown stripped the ball out of Ty Detmer's hands and returned it for a touchdown, clinching the game for the Nittany Lions.

Brown would return to running back the following season and played eight years in the NFL, posting two 1,000+ rushing yard seasons. After retiring, Brown started his coaching career, beginning with his high school alma mater, Williamsport.

Back in 2021 as the running backs coach for the Wisconsin Badgers, Brown stated "I fell in love with the idea of teaching young running backs. I had all this knowledge I had gathered throughout the years and it was my opportunity to share that with somebody else."

Councilman Eric Beiter noted the sentiments of Brown's willingness to give back to the community, "The amount of kindness that came from him directly to the people around him was unbelievable."

Brown would continue coaching, through the college ranks to the pros, which included a stint as Dallas Cowboys running backs coach from 2013 through 2019. He ended his career at the University of Wisconsin in 2021, having to step down due to his cancer diagnosis.

Even in his passing, Brown still continues to leave a mark on his community. His family is touched by the honor bestowed upon Gary. Brown's brother Kevin stated "Thank you." Further elaborating his gratitude, Kevin stated "We really appreciate it, We moved to Lycoming Street in '79 I believe. It has really touched me and I appreciate everyone allowing this to happen."

Next. 10 greatest running backs in Penn State history. 10 greatest running backs in Penn State history. dark