"When you know better, you do better." - Abe Brown
In 1976, Coach Abe Brown picked up a newspaper and was shocked to see that one of his former football players had been charged with murder. Upon visiting this young man in prison, Coach Brown realized that he had taught young men how to play football, but he felt he could have done more to teach them how to live. Deeply moved with the tremendous spiritual needs of those confined to penal institutions, Coach Brown committed his life to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that young men will know God’s rules of life. It was then that he incorporated Prison Crusade Ministries, now Abe Brown Ministries.
About Our Founder
Abe Brown worked in the Hillsborough County School System for 38 years, with the first 23 of those years being spent as both teacher and coach until retirement from active coaching in 1972. That same year, he earned a Master’s Degree in Administration and Supervision from Florida A&M University. He excelled as a motivator to young people, both on the playing field as well as in the classroom, and has been used to turn men’s hearts to the Father.
Coach Brown was eventually called to God's Vineyard and was ordained as a member of the clergy. From 1993 until 2007, Rev. Brown served as Pastor of First Baptist Church of College Hill. “Coach Brown” or "Abe" or "Rev. Brown" has been honored numerous times for his dedication and vision for our community:
- Honored on Congressional Record by State Representative Kathy Castor (March 2010)
- New Middleton High School stadium named “Abe Brown Stadium” in his honor (2008)
- Presented with the GEBA (George Edgecomb Bar Association) Francisco Rodriguez Award for outstanding public service (2005)
- Received the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Community Quarterback Award (2001)
- Presented an award for Dedication by DACCO (2001)
- Selected for the America’s Award (“The Nobel Peace Prize for Goodness”) for dedication through the Norman Vincent Peale Foundation (1993)
- Co-founder of Citizens for a Decent Community, an assemblage of persons loyal to fighting street drugs
- Served on the Board of Directors of Florida Health Sciences Center/Tampa General Healthcare
- Appointed to the Governor’s Florida Commission on Responsible Fatherhood
- Appointed by Secretary Harry K. Singletary, of the Florida Department of Corrections, to the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Partnerships in Correctional Excellence
- Appointed by Mayor Sandy Freedman to the Board of the Tampa Sports Authority
- Elected to the Board of Directors for Trinity College of Florida
- Held an Advisory Council Member position for Faith Theological Seminary
- Served as a Promise Keepers Task Force Member
- Served on Board of Directors for the Homeless Coalition of Hillsborough County Participated as a member of Rotary International
- As well as many more honors and designations from community organizations.
Rev. Brown was well known and highly esteemed in the Tampa Bay area. The quotes below from his memorial service are a true testament to his character and legacy.
Tony Dungy, former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s one thing to help people that can help you, but Rev. Brown made it his mission to help people that may not ever be able to help him. And that was the lesson he taught me.”
Pam Iorio, former Mayor of Tampa
Our city is a better place because he lived. Moreover, we are better individually for having known him. With his quiet strength, he reminded us, all that a good life is in the eyes of God has nothing to do with titles or wealth, but everything to do with simply helping your fellow man. It is a legacy that will endure.”
U.S. Rep Kathy Castor, former student of Chamberlain High School, when Abe Brown was her Dean
Abe Brown was the rock. And he was a stickler for the rules. Often when you arrived in his office, he would just let you sit and stew and think about what you had done. But you just knew you were going to be okay.”