Gwinn Community Mourns Sudden Death Of Brown

GWINN---The Gwinn community is in mourning today following the sudden death of high school football coach Dion Brown.

He was well-known for his enthusiasm and unwaivering support for his players, even during a season last year when his team did not win a game.

Brown died Wednesday night at the age of 37.

One of Brown’s star athletes from the 20-18 team that made the state football playoffs, Austin Forbes, says that Brown pushed him, and fellow star Tucker Taylor, to be their best.

"He was the Gwinn football coach, but he was a lot more than that to many, many people," Forbes said. "He pulled many people into his house, and let them stay there, just because he cared about everyone. He helped me through many, many things. He helped everybody. he was more than just a coach to Gwinn. He was practically the face of it. He changed everything."

The Gwinn Area Community Schools issued the following statement on Thursday.

The Gwinn Area Community Schools experienced a big loss last night with the passing of Head Varsity Football Coach Dion Brown.  He was big in heart, big in spirit and big on the field.  Our condolences to his family and our entire community. 

We spoke with Gwinn Superintendent Sandy Petrovich, who said that the district appreciates the condolences and well-wishes. She says they will need a few days to grieve and to process what has happened before making further comments.

A Chicago native, Brown was a member of the Northern Michigan University football team, and was an assistant coach for the Ishpeming Hematites when they won two state championships. Brown's Gwinn team made the playoffs in both 2016 and 2018, and he had an overall record of 20-36.

Forbes, along with Taylor, were a 1-2 punch on the field that led the Model Towners to a state playoff spot in 2018. Forbes is now a member of the Bay College men’s basketball team, and Taylor is playing football at Michigan Tech University.


Forbes says he wouldn’t be there without Brown’s support.

"In my seventh and eight grade years, for some reason, he always had something with me and Tucker, and my grade, and all those guys who were super close with him," Forbes said. "He decided when we were young to just start pushing us, and making us better than we were."

"Obviously, it helped us to get to where we area today. I truly think that he is the only reason that my grade went as far as we did. I don't think I would be at the place where I am now without him in my life."

Counselors were made available at the Gwinn High School Thursday for anyone who needed to talk about the sudden loss, and Thursday night’s Model Towner boys basketball against Ishpeming was cancelled.

LISTEN: Austin Forbes talks about Coach Brown