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When C. Harmon Brown ’52 began his track and field coaching career with the Pacific Association in 1962, women were not permitted to compete in the sport at the collegiate level. He believed strongly that women were capable of competing and deserved the chance to enjoy the benefits of athletic achievement.

Brown conducted pioneering research on the effects of strenuous exercise on the female body to demonstrate their physiologic and performance capabilities. In recognition of his tireless efforts on behalf of women athletes, the Pacific Association Committee has honored him with the Tom Moore Life Service Award.

Brown went on to distinguished careers in both coaching and medicine. He coached the men’s and women’s track teams at California State University at Hayward and at San Francisco. He also was nine-time United States National Teams coach for two Olympic and two Pan-American games, and he has chaired select U.S. track and field national committees since 1963.

The physician-researcher-coach says that his years at Lafayette taught him “it was possible to ‘multi-task,’ though the term wasn’t invented then.” A chemistry graduate, he credits two former professors for much of his success.

“Professor Bernard Marklein led me down the paths of chemistry and whetted my curiosity, and Professor Sam Pascal, an inspiring French teacher, almost had me convinced to change my major.” Pascal’s classes, Brown says, “helped me with my work with French colleagues, and I was able to work part-time in science labs as a translator while in medical school.”

He also credits former track coach Art Winters.

“He supported me for several years as a one-man indoor track team, as Lafayette did not have indoor intercollegiate track. I believe that he paid my way to meets in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York so that I could compete against the world’s best, with some success.”

Brown held the Lafayette records for the 120-yard high hurdles and the 220-yard low hurdles outdoors, and he won four conference individual championship titles.

Categorized in: Alumni Profiles