Robert Edward “Butch” Brown was born in 1923 in Versailles to Orville and Mabel (Peters) Brown. The family moved to Greenville, and that is where Bob went to school and starred on the basketball team at Greenville High School, graduating in 1942.
After graduating he accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Miami University and as a freshman played on the varsity team.
But in 1943 World War II intervened, and Bob found himself in the United States Marines at Camp Miramar in San Diego, playing on the service basketball team in 1943 and ’44.
After the war’s end in 1945 he returned to Miami and played three more years of basketball, graduating in 1949.
While playing service basketball he met many of the greatest players of that day and subsequently signed with the professional Providence, Rhode Island, Steam Rollers in the BAA (Basketball Association of America) where he played one year.
The next season the 6-foot 4-inch, 205 pound power forward played for the Denver Nuggets in the fledgling National Basketball Association where he teamed with former service teammate Ken Sailors, who was credited with inventing the jump shot.
Bobby played one season with Denver and in 62 games averaged 11.6 points per games as well as 1.6 assists and many times was the team’s leading scorer.
He averaged 10.1 points per game for his two years as a professional.
He played against the greatest players of that day including George Mikan, Joe Fulks, Dolph Schayes, Alex Groza and Ralph Beard.
He turned down an offer from the Boston Celtics to continue playing to go into the business world and worked with Kaiser Steel and Oregon Steel. Because of his success in sales he was a special sales ambassador for LaBarge Pipe & Steel Co., well up into his 80s after he retired from Oregon Steel.
He was and is a golf aficionado as he started playing when he was 14 and won the Kaiser Open at Pebble Beach and has met many celebrities during that time.
He credits his success to his early education at Greenville High School and tutelage under coaches Raudabaugh and Salzman and was an early inductee into the Greenville High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
He was also inducted into the Miami University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1972. Included in his induction class was Barbara Bush’s father, Marvin Pierce of the class of 1916, as well as Michigan coach Bo Schembechler and professional football star Ernie Kellerman.
At 92 years of age he lives in Texas and recently played 18 holes of golf.
A special thanks to Nancy Brown Warner (his sister) for information on this article.
Ron Griffitts is a contributing columnist for The Daily Advocate.