Kippy Brown, Memphis' first black QB, reflects on career as Memphis Tiger

Kippy Brown, Memphis' first black QB, reflects on career as Memphis Tiger
(Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)
(Source: WMC Action News 5 archives)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Saturday, the University of Memphis honored a number of former Tigers. Kippy Brown was one such Tiger, and he was awarded the Billy J Murphy award.

Brown was a trailblazing quarterback for the Tigers in the 1970s.

These days, Kippy Brown spends his time at the golf course with friends, taking in retirement.

Before he started working on his golf swing, he was the first black quarterback in Memphis history.

"I think there were like five black quarterbacks in major college football playing back then," Brown said. "So it was a big deal and I wanted to come to Memphis and become the first."

Brown said his teammates had no issues with his race, but he did get criticism from some fans.

"There were some detractors because of skin color of course, but we've overcome that now," he said.

Despite the adversity, Brown played for Memphis from 1974 to 1977 and proved himself as a winner.

"I never played on a losing team at the University of Memphis, which is something I'm very proud of," Brown said. "I never played on a losing team in high school, never played on one in college."

After his playing career, Brown coached at multiple universities including Memphis, Louisville, and three stints with Tennessee. He was even the head coach of the XFL's Memphis Maniax, and was an NFL assistant for seven different teams.

The biggest moment of Brown's career came in 2014 when he won a Super Bowl ring as the wide receivers coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

"I've got friends in coaching that coach all their lives and don't even get to make it to the playoffs," Brown said. "Being able to do that was just something I'll never forget. It was just exhilarating to be there with family and friends."

No matter what, Kippy doesn't forget his Memphis roots.

"I always have fond memories of playing here at Memphis," he said.

Brown said his some of his favorite players to coach were Andre Johnson with the Texans, Calvin Johnson with the Lions, and Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, and Jermaine Kearse with the Seahawks.

But his absolute favorites? Dan Marino and Marshawn Lynch.

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