Longtime USATF contributor Dr. C. Harmon Brown dies


Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Known worldwide as a pioneer in sports science and medicine, Dr. C. Harmon Brown died from cancer on Tuesday, November 11. He was 78.

A well-respected author, coach, professor, speaker, endocrinologist, team administrator and track meet official, Dr. Brown, a resident of San Mateo, Calif., served the sport of track and field in countless ways.

"All of us at USA Track & Field are saddened to hear of the passing of our dear friend Dr. Harmon Brown," said USATF President Bill Roe. "His contributions to our organization are immeasurable, and he is one of the people in our sport for whom the term 'gentleman' is an understatement. He will be greatly missed."

A hurdler in his younger days, Brown held the Lafayette College school records in the 120-yard high hurdles and 220-yard low hurdles, and won four conference titles. After graduating from Lafayette (Easton, Pa.) in 1952, Brown earned his M.D. from the George Washington School of Medicine in 1956.

While pursuing his career in medicine in California, Brown continued to pursue his passion for track and field by coaching in club, high school, collegiate, national and international levels. During his coaching career he mentored numerous All-Americans and three Olympic throwers. He served on coaching staffs with nine Team USA international teams from 1967-1986, including two Olympic and two Pan-American teams.

When he began coaching in 1962, women were not permitted to participate in collegiate competitions. Brown became a tireless advocate on behalf of women athletes and conducted pioneering research on the effects of strenuous exercise on the female body to demonstrate women's physiologic and performance capabilities. Brown worked to find physiological, biochemical and nutritional performance benefits to counter the rise in drug use in elite sport.

Brown served TAC/USATF as chair of the organization's Sports Science and Medical Committee for two decades where he was instrumental in developing USATF's innovative drug testing initiatives. The past few years he served as USATF's High Performance Sports Science Chair. Brown was also one of the co-architects of USATF's High Performance Programs philosophy of track and field being an athlete-centered, coach-driven and scientifically applied sport.

Brown served the sport worldwide as a member of the IAAF Medical and Anti-Doping Commission. In the early 1980s he helped to initiate and then chair the IAAF Medical Education Working Group, a forerunner to the current Medical and Anti-Doping Commission on which he alsoserved until stepping down in 2007. In all,Brown's contribution to the IAAF's medical and anti-doping programme consisted of 24 years of devoted service, a period which also involved many appointments as Medical Delegate to IAAF championships.

A contributing author to the USA Track & Field Coaching Manual, Brown was a well respected author. He served as the editor and co-author of the IAAF Medical Manual for Athletics and Road Running Competitions: A Practical Guide, a publication which is now in its third edition.

Funeral arrangements are pending.