Down Memory Lane with athletes coached by Wrestling Hall of Fame OFA Coach Dick Brown

Retired Owego Free Academy Wrestling Coach from 1953 to 1972 and later Athletic Director Richard H. Brown will be inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame of the New York State Chapter on Sept. 20 at the Double Tree Hotel in East Syracuse.

Coach Brown had a 173-74-3 wrestling record over 19 seasons – still one of the best in Section Four history. His teams won seven league titles and two Section IV class titles. He coached 61 league champions and six Section IV champions, including the first sectional champion from Tioga County. His wrestlers placed in the top four of Section IV a total of 34 times.

Readers were invited to remember Coach Brown’s athletes. He also coached varsity baseball, wrestling, football and cross-country.

A Reader’s Column comment last week said he coached some great Owego Free Academy athletes like Bob Leonard, Tom Riley, Dale Wales, Jerry McTamney and Brian and Steve Bidwell. There are many more.

Wayne Hartman lives in Houston, Texas. He’s the Vice President of Products for an air conditioning manufacture.

He wrote in an email, “My mother sent me the notice about Mr. Brown being inducted into the New York National Hall of Fame. I think it is great that Dick is being recognized while he and his family can enjoy it. I still remember him as a life guard at the village pool.”

He continued, “I thought I would share what Mr. Brown and his passion for wrestling did for me. Mr. Brown started encouraging me to wrestle from and early age. I was a small kid growing up but always liked sports. Basketball and football were not in my future.”

He further added, “Mr. Brown was our gym teacher when I went to Central School and he always ran a wrestling program. In sixth grade Mr. Brown would invite myself and another fellow 6th grader to practice with the varsity team. How cool is that for an 11-year-old skinny kid! I wrestled for Owego from 1970 through 1974. Although Mr. Brown left wrestling to become the Athletic Director for the school district in 1972 he was always around to support me. Outside of my family Mr. Brown was easily one of the most influential people at that point of my life. I owe him a lot and I could not be happier for him being recognized by being elected to the NYS Wrestling Hall of Fame. I am sure all the young men he influenced during his long tenure feel the same way I do.”

Because wrestling stories and files were lost in the Flood of September 2011, readers are asked to provide information about Coach Brown’s championship teams and athletes.

Also relate your memories of Coach Dick Brown. Write your memory in your own words and email all information to