In Memory Of - March 2019

March 20 2019

Dave Brown

Dave Brown Passes On: BC Rugby Community Loses a Treasure

[ed. comments below]

It's always tough to write up these articles, it makes the heart sad to contemplate the loss of another outstanding member of the BC rugby community. I first heard the news through Patrick Johnston's tweet this morning although I had heard earlier he had taken a turn for the worse and was in hospice.

I didn't know Dave well personally, we met post match a few times, he was Development Manager for BCRU when BCRN started in 2005. BC always seemed to excel in youth rugby at the nationals which was in large part due to Dave's influence. He later went on to UBC and was part of the resurgence of that program as noted in the BCRU story below.

My contact with him was mostly by email, asking for the UBC rosters every weekend which he provided like clockwork. Until this last weekend when it returned with an automated "Thank-you for your email. Dave Brown is currently away from the office." I feel incredibly sad when I read that, sad that I didn't take the time to know him better the few times we did talk face to face. He seemed a gentle and intelligent soul.

It's perhaps best left to those who did know Dave better, the measure of a person perhaps is in the quality of the memories they've left with others. Here are a few comments seen today on social media.

Tim Murdy
Terrible news! Condolences to the Brown Family, UBC Rugby and the BC Rugby community. A huge loss to our game. RIP Brownie!

Gary Johnston
RIP Dave. Proud to call you a friend. H H Jono

John James
RIP Dave...You did much to assist my two sons through their rugby careers. Mentor of many who have gone on to be better people due to your influence!

Andrew Coe
Tough goodbye to a man who has helped me countless times. Rest In Peace Dave Brown, it was a pleasure to have known how amazing you truly were

Any Blackburn
RIP Dave Brown. A humble and industrious builder in BC & Canadian rugby I looked up to and greatly admired. Will especially miss those chats about the 13 man code and Saints v Rhinos results. Condolences to The Brown Family!

Adam Zaruba
Dave was a huge part of my development and always believed in my potential. A great man and incredible servant for rugby in Canada.

Mike James
So so very sorry to read this today. He helped develop me early in my career before I was capped. We have lost a treasure.

Gary Dukelow
Dave was a man totally committed to the game, at all levels. He lived a full life, despite the early call to come off the field. Thoughts go out to Ruth and the families.

UBC Rugby
The UBC rugby program would like to offer their deepest sympathies and our heartfelt condolences to the family of Dr. Dave Brown. Dave fought a tough battle with cancer right up to the very end. Dave will be fondly remembered for his candor, ability to bring out the best in those around him and his deep understanding of people and our game. Dave's intelligence and dedication to rugby across the country is unparalleled and with his passing comes an end of an era. Dave was one of a kind and an incredibly special person in many ways he is irreplaceable and the legacy he has left behind speaks to that. We would ask that at this time Dave’s family be given time to work through this process.

from BCRU

Vancouver, BC – March 19, 2019: It is with great sadness that BC Rugby acknowledges the passing of Dave Brown. A prominent figure in the rugby community within the Province, Dave was a much-loved individual who influenced hundreds of athletes during his lifetime.

Dave’s relationship with the sport of rugby extended throughout his life, initially as a player before gaining experience of coaching the game in England, Australia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. He was a keen accumulator of knowledge in his field, acquiring over time a Bachelor of Physical Education from Loughborough University in England, a Master of Science in Physical Education from Dalhousie University, and a PhD in Physical Education from the University of Alberta.

In 1988 he made the move to Vancouver to head up the Rugby program at the Vancouver Rowing Club, the first step in a relationship with the sport of Rugby in BC that would span three decades. Brown would make his mark coaching at almost every level of the game, from Age-Grade to Senior and across Club, Regional, Provincial and National including highlights such as Vancouver’s McKechnie Cup win in 2000. He would also serve as the coach for Canada’s National Women at the inaugural World Cup where the team lost just one game, to New Zealand, and won the Plate Final.

Every bit as keen on development off the field as well as on it, Dave was involved in the Rugby Canada Coaching and Certification program as early as 1980 and in BC as Chair of Coaching from 1989. With BC Rugby he would go on to secure the role of Development Director, a role he would hold for a total of nine years. During this time, Brown was responsible for the design, delivery and evaluation of high-performance programming for all rugby athletes and coaches in the province. This is a legacy that continues on to this day and has impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of aspirant young rugby players even after his departure.

The BC Rugby Board, past and present, wishes to recognize the significant contributions that Dave Brown made to the Rugby community in the Province. His extended commitment to developing rugby and helping athletes to achieve their potential mark him out as one of the great builders of the game in the last 30 years. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him and BC Rugby extends its deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Most recently, Dave Brown was known for his role of Manager of Rugby at UBC where he oversaw significant development of the men’s program. During his tenure at UBC, the Senior Men’s team won the Rounsefell Cup three years in a row (2015, 2016 & 2017), a feat only achieved by two other clubs since the turn of the century. Under Brown’s guiding hand, the UBC Men’s team would also extend unbeaten records against the University of California (The World Cup) and the University of Victoria (Wightman Boot).

Dave’s family has requested privacy during this period. Information regarding a Celebration of Life will be shared as details become available.

Pemberton Holmes
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