Donovan Brown set the standard by which all future Grizzly post players would be evaluated. Although the 219-pound product from Baton Rouge, La., stood only 6-5, his tenacity and determination against taller opponents during the team’s first two years anchored the fledgling program and steered it toward its early success.
Brown came to Missouri State University-West Plains in 1993 from Broadmoore High School, where he was named to the all-district first team his junior and senior years. At Missouri State University-West Plains, he quickly established himself as a team leader and the “go-to guy” under the basket. Whether he was muscling his way past larger opponents to grab the all-important rebound or slipping past defenses to lay the ball into the hoop, Head Coach Tom Barr always knew he could count on Brown in the paint.
“Donovan played big and really improved from his freshman to his sophomore year,” Grizzly Head Coach Tom Barr said. “His rebounding statistics and records have held up for a long period of time. I think that says a lot about his abilities. We have had a lot of good players come through here since then, but they haven’t broken his records.”
By the time Brown left Missouri State University-West Plains in 1995, he had left a huge mark on the team’s statistical records. His 562 rebounds between 1993 and 1995 continue to stand in the record books as the most career rebounds by a Grizzly, and his 14 two-point field goals against Crowley’s Ridge College on Jan. 24, 1994, still hold a share of the lead for the most two-point field goals in a game by a Grizzly. And, he remains among the top three Grizzlies in at least five other two-point shooting and rebounding statistical areas.
Brown completed his education at Missouri State University-West Plains in 1995, receiving an Associate of Arts in General Studies degree. He transferred on athletic scholarship to Idaho State University then to Missouri Valley College in Marshall. While at Idaho State during the 1995-96 season, he was the team’s leading rebounder with 134 grabs. He started for the Missouri Valley College Vikings during the 1997-98 team and was a first-team selection to the Heart of America All-Conference team at the end of the season. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Northwestern State University in 1999.
He now teaches school at Northdale Academy in Baton Rouge, LA, and is a volunteer coach for the Youth Sports Academy in Baton Rouge. “I work with underprivileged children and am also a summer camp counselor,” he said. “I try to be a trustworthy and honest person. Hard work on and off the court has paid off in more ways than one.”And, he continues to represent Missouri State University-West Plains by taking pride in everything he does.
Although Brown is several years removed from Missouri State University-West Plains, he hasn’t forgotten the time he spent here and the legacy he created with the first Grizzly basketball players. “I feel honored to have been a part of the Grizzly Athletics program. It is a time in my life that I will never forget and think about frequently. I believe being a member of the first ever basketball team and one of the first athletic graduates is a milestone in itself.”