KREMMLING — Legendary. Immortal. Mythical.
Any one one of those words could be used to describe what West Grand coach Chris Brown accomplished on Friday night. Yet, none of them can really demonstrate just what he has meant in the realm of coaching high school football.
Only hours after Kent Denver coach Scott Yates tied the Colorado career wins record, Brown won his 307th game with a 38-12 win over Sanford.
For now, he stands alone.
The best there is. The best there was. Maybe the best there ever will be.
With no intentions of slowing down.
“When I quit loving coaching kids and going to practice and scouting, it’s time to get out of it,” Brown said. “But right now I love all of that.
In his first game of the 2016 season, Brown got whatever hype was associated with this run out of the way. But he never once coached like there was anything special about the game. In fact, in his previous 306 wins, Brown never once cared about anything other than the game at hand.
Whether it was at Limon or with the Mustangs, Brown was never in search of greatness. He just wanted to be a football coach.
“Our goal was to be 1-0 after tonight,” Brown said. “At least that was my goal. I don’t know about anyone else, but that was my goal.”
The Mustangs (1-0 overall) got on the board in the first quarter with a five-yard touchdown run from Travis Barnes with 3:59 remaining in the first quarter.
Right then, the Mustangs’ defense settled in and really limited what the Indians (0-1) were able to do offensively.
A rushing touchdown from Travis Etler and touchdown pass from Brady Gore to Etler put gave the Mustangs an 18-0. And that would be all the points that West Grand would need to get the victory and leave Brown standing next to no one in the career wins column.
“We definitely got a lot more execution after the first three drives,” Etler said. “(Us getting this win) is going to be a big achievement, not only for coach, but for us as a team.”
Brown stands alone at least for now. For the rest of the regular season, he and Yates will be the subject of a statewide watch to see who ends the season with the most wins in state history.
Even if it’s Brown, he knows that Yates still has more left in the tanks and will blow by whatever career number he can set.
“He’ll blow by me in a Wyoming wind because he’ll coach for a long time, too,” Brown said. “It’s fine. It’s okay when he goes right on by me.”
Because Brown doesn’t care about his own accomplishments. And it’s not a smoke screen. He cares more about the happenings of his students and players than he ever could about his own accomplishments.
When the final gun sounded Friday night and he was standing as a man who had accomplished something that no other coach in the state had done, he could only think back to last season.
“It won’t stand out nearly as much as when we had to play after JD (Guess) got killed,” he said.
But it will stand out in the eyes of his players, his colleagues and his community.
He doesn’t need to acknowledge his success when those he has mentored are willing to stand up and celebrate for him because they know how much it means to everyone else.
“It’s not just about the coaches,” Etler said. “It’s about the school and all that. It’s about having fun and executing.”
What made the night even more special, if possible, was defensive coordinator Maurice Noll sharing the win with Brown. Noll had been in a fight with brain cancer and was given a clean bill of health this week. He has been present for all but 35 of Brown’s wins.
And though Brown wouldn’t say it, he knew that there was no way his friend would’ve missed being there for that historic 307th victory.