Richard Eugene (Dick) Brown died September 30, 2020 in Rotonda West, Florida. Known to many as “Coach Brown,” Dick loved kids, sports, the Florida Gators, fishing, and storytelling. While coaching nearly every sport at Venice High School during his storied career, he specialized in baseball and basketball. He was referred to as the “Father of Venice High School Baseball” when he was inducted into the Venice Sports Hall of Fame in 2008.
Dick was born July 6, 1926 in Hagerstown, Indiana, the first child of Eugene and Doris Brown. Upon graduation from Hagerstown High School, he immediately enlisted in the US Navy, serving in the Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. Following the war, he earned his teaching degree and graduated from Ball State University in 1949.
Though he began his teaching and coaching career in Sulphur Springs, Indiana, he moved to Florida in 1952 and accepted an offer from Sarasota County Schools to develop the athletic program at what was then Venice-Nokomis High School. Over 27 years, Dick taught at Venice Middle and High Schools and was instrumental in the early efforts to transform VHS from a small south county school into the large school and athletic powerhouse it is today. He retired in 1979 to concentrate on his love of fishing, obtaining his captain’s license and operating a charter fishing business. Much of his time fishing was spent in Boca Grande.
Dick is survived by Gerri Watson, his beloved wife of 43 years, along with his brother Max and wife Lennie Brown, son Steve and wife MaryAnn Brown, daughter Tammy Wallace and fiancé Ned VanDeree, five grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Internment is set for October 30 at 10:00 a.m. at the Sarasota National Cemetery: 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota FL 34241. Pending no state restrictions on public gatherings, and respecting social distancing, all are welcome to honor and celebrate Dick’s life.
In lieu of flowers, and in honor of Dick and Gerri’s passion for fostering cats together, please consider making a contribution to the Suncoast Humane Society, humane.org/donate/