A former student and recent mechanical engineering graduate, who wishes to remain anonymous, recently reflected on his time spent in Coach Brown’s class and why he decided to make a donation to the Health and Exercise Studies department in Coach Brown’s name.
Larry Brown, affectionately known as Coach Brown, is an associate professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Studies teaching several classes related to swimming, diving, and scuba at NC State; however, many of his former students find his impact extends far beyond the pool.
“I originally came to Coach Brown because I was interested in the military. He suggested I take a few classes to gain perspective and develop essential skills,” said the alumnus. After this meeting, the NC State alumnus signed up for Coach Brown’s Scuba II and Survival Swimming classes on the professor’s recommendation. He notes both classes worked together for training purposes and presented challenging underwater scenarios which required the use of critical thinking and patience.
Throughout his classes, Coach Brown uses a couple key phrases to help teach his students to overcome various challenges. “He would consistently use two statements, ‘smile and be happy’ and ‘slow and relaxed with good technique.’” The former often pertained to staying positive in any situation. This lesson stuck with the alumnus as he reminisced, “I’ve been through difficult and stressful situations and that saying or hand signal has been the difference in me giving into my stress and discomfort versus embracing it and being thankful for what I have in that situation.” He uses them as a reminder to take a step back, breathe, relax, and take it slow, explaining “the smoother you go and the more you focus on your technique, the more the stress is removed and the more efficient you will go. Efficient is fast.”
Coach Brown teaches more than just swimming, diving, and scuba. He teaches his students lasting life lessons. The mechanical engineering graduate notes Coach Brown’s lessons “taught patience and bred calmness.” Furthermore, he explained, “Coach taught me to give more and to give relentlessly.” With this lesson in mind, the graduate hopes his donation to Health and Exercise Studies will help instructors like Coach Brown be able to provide many more learning opportunities for future Wolfpack students. “If just one person benefits from this funding, if it gives that one person a new perspective or challenge, that’s fine by me. The gifts of experience, challenge, and wisdom are much greater than the gift of money. Coach has given much more to me than I could ever give to the program.”
This sentiment resonates throughout the department as well. Former Health and Exercise Studies department head and current associate department head, Dr. Tom Roberts notes “such a generous gift from a recent graduate validates the impact faculty can make on students.” Further embodying the Wolfpack spirit, Dr. Roberts note, “Health and Exercise Studies sets an example of the university’s motto ‘think and do’ with every class we teach.”
To learn more about how you can make a difference in the NC State community by giving, check out the Think and Do the Extraordinary campaign.