The super-active Brown began breaking into box scores, line scores and other agate-type accounts of his high school sports accomplishments while attending North High School in one of Denver’s more difficult neighborhoods. He would earn seven letters and all-star status in football, basketball and baseball.
Too small for a major school, Brown attending Garden City Junior College in Kansas one year then returned to Colorado and Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado). “I was considered too small for basketball except that Kansas made me a scholarship offer that would have made me Wilt Chamberlain’s teammate. But I was in love and distances were difficult in those days. I went to Greeley where Coach Pete Butler was very well-known and I married my high school sweetheart.” Two worthy choices, Greeley featured teaching degrees and a chance for Brown to play for a team in the NCAA finals in Omaha, considered the “World Series” of baseball.
Brown’s more notable accomplishments (besides his long running radio sports talk show) was coaching and officiating every kind of basketball from a grade school tournament to the NCAA “Final Four.”
Somehow Irv never had just one thing going for him. While he coached Arvada High School to ten conference football titles and one state championship, he was assisting in baseball at the University of Colorado and at Metro State.
He continued with his basketball officiating and at one time was working as many as nine major conferences, which drew attention to his overall ability. His “Final Four” credentials ran from 1969 to 1977 and included four of John Wooden’s championships.
During this same period he coached baseball at CU, producing two players who would lead the nation in home runs, John Stearns and Jay Howell.
And, along came television. Naturally, Brown would work the first Collegiate World Series for ESPN and Brown has another distinction: he did the commentary on ESPN’s first college telecast, Chuck Fairbanks’ football debut with Colorado at Oregon in 1977.
His expertise in officiating and administration led him to posts as commissioner of various conferences and through it all he was working for Charlie Metro as a major-league baseball scout. He was supervisor of officials for the Western Athletic Conference, the Big Sky Conference and the High Country and Midwestern Conferences. In 1991, he served as commissioner of the Colorado Athletic Conference.
Whatever the gig, you bet Irv Brown did it for the love of the sport. He, himself, was an all-conference performer throughout his high school and college careers.
I was considered too small for basketball except that Kansas made me a scholarship offer that would have made me Wilt Chamberlain’s teammate.