Former USC tailback, NFL player Willie Brown dies at 76
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Willie Brown, Southern California’s original I-formation tailback under coach John McKay who went on to a brief NFL career before returning to the Trojans as a coach, has died. He was 76.
The school said Brown died Thursday of cancer in nearby Carson.
Brown played at USC from 1961-63, twice earning all-league honors. He was a member of the Trojans’ 1962 national championship team and captain in 1963. He played tailback his first two years, including when McKay introduced the I-formation to the offense in 1961, and was a flanker in 1963.
Brown led the Trojans in rushing and kickoff returns in 1962, and in receiving and scoring the following year. He rushed for 1,294 yards in his career and played in four postseason games.
He also played center field and shortstop for the Trojans from 1962-64, winning the College World Series in 1963. He led the Trojans in batting average and runs as an all-league player in 1963.
Brown played in the NFL from 1964-66 with the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles. He later worked as an assistant coach in the league.
He returned to USC as an assistant football coach from 1968-75, including with the 1972 and 1974 national champions. He also served as a Trojan baseball assistant in 1969 and 1970, when USC again won the College World Series.
Brown was an academic monitor at USC from 1996-2016.
He is survived by wife Carole, son Brian, daughter Kimberly and two grandchildren as well as his brother Oscar, who played baseball at USC and with the Atlanta Braves. Brown’s other brother Ollie, who played major league baseball with six different teams, died in 2015.
Services were pending.