Harkins named head football athletic trainer
Kent Brown was named the University of Illinois Assistant Athletics Director/Media Relations in May 2000 and was promoted to Associate Athletics Director/Media Relations in January 2013. He began his career in athletic communications as an undergraduate student at Illinois in 1986 and served as a graduate assistant from 1987-89. Brown was an assistant sports information director at the UI from 1989-96 before being named the Sports Information Director at Kansas State University in July 1996, where he helped the Wildcats begin competition in the Big 12 Conference.
In 2000, Brown had the opportunity to return to Illinois, where he has directed the communications office since. During his career in incollegiate athletics, Brown has helped publicize teams in two men's basketball Final Fours (1989 and 2005) and 13 football bowl games, including the 1997 Fiesta Bowl, 2002 Sugar Bowl and 2008 Rose Bowl. At Kansas State, he publicized 13 national football award finalists, including the 1998 Davey O'Brien Award winner and Heisman Trophy runner-up (Michael Bishop). At Illinois, Brown led publicity efforts in men's basketball for one National Player of the Year (Dee Brown), three Big Ten Players of the Year (Frank Williams, Brian Cook and Dee Brown) and four consensus All-Americans (Dee Brown-twice, Luther Head and Deron Williams). He became an at-large member of the CoSIDA Board of Directors in 2010 and served until June 2013.
A native of Hammond, Ill., Brown earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Illinois in 1987 and his master's in sports management at Illinois in 1989. He has three children (Nicholle, Ty and Cameron) and resides in St. Joseph.
Fighting Illini Memory
Having grown up less than 40 miles from Champaign-Urbana, I've been a fan of the Fighting Illini since I knew what sports teams even were. I devoured every story in the newspaper sports pages about the Illini, even if the paper was a few days old. I couldn't get enough. I snuck a transistor radio underneath my covers just to listen to Tom Stewart's radio call of Nick Weatherspoon becoming the all-time scoring leader for basketball in the early 70s.
From that point on, there was never a doubt that I would be a Fighting Illini for life. But, my favorite memory prior to the hundreds of experiences I've been fortunate enough to live since working here in the late 80s has to be Jan. 11, 1979, when the undefeated and third-ranked Illini took on top-ranked Michigan State and their star, Magic Johnson, in a key Big Ten matchup. Even though I wasn't old enough to drive yet, I had ordered tickets for that game the previous fall knowing that MSU would be one of the top teams in the nation. I was lucky enough to get my pair of tickets, which were located in row 22 of Section C 20. Which meant the top row behind the basket. It didn't matter, because I was inside the Assembly Hall and the place was electric. Illinois had started the season with a 14-0 record and were trying to make a statement that they were for real in this highly anticipated game against the Spartans.
I remember it was a typical Big Ten game, with physical play and outstanding players. The lead changed hands eight times in the second half. However, the lasting memory, of course, was in the final seconds when Illini star Eddie Johnson knocked down an uncontested 18-foot jump shot with just three seconds remaining to give Illinois a 57-55 lead and eventual victory. After a time out, Magic Johnson was forced to attempt a shot from near half court that bounced harmlessly off the backboard before the sold-out crowd of more than 16,000 erupted in craziness.
I'm not sure my feet touched the ground as we walked to the car, chanting with everyone else, "We're Number One!"
Updated January 2013