Brown assesses situation, keeping his options open

By Ivan Sanders
STAR STAFF
isanders@starhq.com

   When ETSU President Paul Stanton made the announcement official that after this upcoming season the Buccaneer football team would be no more, Elizabethton graduating senior Walter Brown was left stunned and shocked at the turn of events that has left him wondering of what might have been.
   "Right now I am trying to decide on whether to red shirt this season at ETSU and transfer to another school or go ahead with a transferal right now so I can play right away," said Brown during a lunch period interview. "I am just taking one step at a time right now to decide on what I want to do."
   The speedy Brown, who broke several long standing records during his career as a member of the Cyclone gridiron program, was looking at garnering some immediate playing time for the Bucs his freshman season. Brown, still recovering from surgery to repair an ACL injury that occurred during his basketball campaign, now faces the situation of beginning a recruiting process all over again.
   "UT-Chattanooga and Tennessee Tech have shown a lot of interest in me coming and playing for them, with UT-C showing the most interest," stated Brown. "Coach Pless and I are suppose to go visit both schools whenever I receive my referral papers from Coach Hamilton at ETSU."
   Not only were the players that recently signed letters of intent and the returning players shocked by the decision, but according to Brown the coaching staff, including head coach Paul Hamilton, were caught off guard as well.
   Said Brown: "Coach Hamilton was surprised too when he heard of the decision to drop football. I haven't been over there lately, but from what I hear the whole coaching staff has been helping the players move on to other schools. Coach Hamilton also has let any of the players know that they are more than welcome to go wherever he may end up at."
   One can only imagine that the NCAA has had several calls to determine the eligibility of the Buc players due to the ramifications of an action such as the one at ETSU. Brown has turned to the Cyclone coaching staff and head coach Tommy Jenkins for help in regards to where his standing is right now.
   "Coach Jenkins and I have been talking to some different people about what I need to do right now," Brown said. "Right now I have to wait for the paper work from ETSU before I can do anything as far as a visit to UT-C or Tennessee Tech goes."
   Added Brown: "Coach has given me some fantastic opportunities by calling some people who have shown interest in me. Right now I just want to go to school and play football. Lincoln Memorial and some other schools have called about me playing basketball, but I really want to play football more than anything."
   Many people have wondered about the injury Brown suffered and how he has been recovering. According to Brown, the knee is healing great with a visit scheduled this week back to the doctor's office to see when he can start running again.
   With such a devastating event happening such as the decision by Dr. Stanton, many young people might buckle and never recover. Brown has shown a lot of fortitude in his approach to the whole situation.
   "Hey, things like this happen you know," said Brown. "I am just going to do what Coach Jenkins told me and that is to stop worrying about it, go to class, and keep working hard."
   Brown realizes the challenges that lie ahead of him regardless of whether it is academically or athletically.
   Stated Brown: "This is going to be my first year in college and you have to set your mind to doing the work. I just hate this whole thing happened because it's just like starting over again with the visits and talks to the coaches as well as all the other stuff. I am ready for it though and I am just exciting to have this opportunity."
   Brown has already shown during his young life that he is very capable of withstanding any type of opposition that life has to offer. He spent a large portion of the early basketball season with his mother who was ill in Michigan and has already played through some tough injuries in his career.
   This is just another detour in a young man's life that has shown he has the capabilities of working his way around those obstacles to achieve success regardless of the circumstance. Brown might not don a ETSU jersey in front of his family and friends, but don't be surprised to see his name hitting the headlines from some collegiate program's game stats on a Saturday afternoon this fall.