Former NC State running back Ted Brown was expecting a simple return home when he arrived back in Minnesota in early May, fresh off a trip to Florida. But when Brown went through his mail, he came across a package that caught his attention.
The package was from the National Football Foundation, and Brown was puzzled because he doesn’t know anyone working there. Then he saw a football in the package, which didn’t strike him as odd since people frequently send him memorabilia to sign. But what was printed on the football welcomed him to a special place for an athlete.
“Ted Brown, North Carolina State University, Member of the 2013 College Football Hall of Fame Class.”
The College Football Hall of Fame honor, Brown says, caught him off guard because it’s been a while since he ran over Wolfpack foes from 1975-78. In those four seasons, Brown became the ACC’s all-time leading rusher with 4,602 yards and 51 touchdowns.
“I was surprised but pleased to finally be recognized for the hard work I put in through college,” he says. “I had thought my numbers were good enough. …I felt a little overjoyed. Better late than never.”
Brown’s promise as a runner was realized in his first game as a freshman, running for 121 yards and two touchdowns in the contest against Indiana University. That game helped Brown believe he could do something special. But, he adds, he never set his sights on being one of the greatest running backs in college football history.
“My goal was to play and do the best I could for my teammates,” he says. “The camaraderie we had was so tight. That is so important in sports. If you get any individual honors, it’s probably because you were surrounded by great people.”
And win honors he did. Brown was named first-team All-ACC all four years at NC State, and he was a consensus All-American in 1978. He had a decorated career in his eight seasons for the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. And last fall, he was part of the inaugural class inducted into the NC State Athletic Hall of Fame, an honor he says will always stand out for him.
“Having been in the first class,” Brown says, “it speaks volumes since the school has been there so long. …That feels like family. It felt like my family was recognizing me. [The College Football Hall of Fame] is a great honor, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my having been at NC State.”