Four years ago, Notre Dame football signee Chris Brown entered Hanahan
(S.C) High School as a freshman, the same year David Pratt took over
as the school’s boys track coach.
That spring Pratt quickly became familiar with an explosive freshman
that participated in the high jump and triple jump for the varsity
team. By the end of his freshman year, Brown was jumping 44-feet,
6-inches for a fifth-place in the triple jump at the South Carolina
Class AA State Championships.
“I’ve been coaching track for a long time and I had never had a
freshman make it to the state meet in the triple jump or to jump that
far,” Pratt said. “I guess then I kind of knew that this kid was going
to be pretty good.”
Pratt also knew that Brown was a football player and he’d have to
share him with another sport. But Pratt was able to sell to Brown that
track and field would improve his football skills.
“I always knew football was probably his favorite sport. That’s just
the way it is in the South,” Pratt said. “I know Chris knew that
running track would help his football, and he enjoyed it.”
Brown continued playing both sports, and even played basketball as a
sophomore as well. By the time Brown’s junior season rolled around, he
was ready to cement his legacy.
That year Hanahan won the state track and field championship, and
Brown set the state meet record in the triple jump (51-2½), won the
long jump (23-9), finished second in the 200-meter dash (21.9
seconds), and was a member of the champion 400-meter relay team
Brown followed his track success with a stellar senior football season
and a signed scholarship to Notre Dame. Pratt took it upon himself to
ready Brown with college football speed by adding the 100 to his
“To be honest with you, he spent so much time jumping at practice, he
wasn’t really a sprinter,” Pratt said of Brown as a junior. “He was a
jumper who was sprinting.”
By the end of that junior season, Brown was competing for the state
championship in four different events.
Fast forward to his senior season and Sunday’s Class AA State
Championship meet, and Brown added his second state championship in
the triple jump with a mark of 49-5 and second-place finishes in the
100 (10.81), 200 dash (21.6), and high jump (6-6).
Brown finishes his career having competed in six different events at
the state championship level, but Pratt thinks he still has room for
“I still think he can get faster and stronger,” Pratt said of the
6-foot-2, 170-pounder. “I don’t think he’s fully developed yet.”
Brown has said he hopes to run track and field at Notre Dame in
addition to football, and Notre Dame track coach Joe Piane conceded
the two have been e-mailing regularly for months.
With George Atkinson III, Josh Atkinson and Bennett Jackson competing
with the track and field team this winter and spring, a recent
precedent has been set for Brown to take advantage of both sports.
“Chris would like to do that,” Pratt said. “I think Chris can compete
with them. When he gets to Notre Dame, he’s going to get stronger and
get taught better technique than what I’ve taught him.”
After everything Brown has done for his program at Hanahan, Pratt said
he’s ready to see what Brown can do at the college level. Even if the
goodbye will be a little bittersweet.
“He was like a coach that could also triple jump 51 feet,” Pratt said.
“He’s really going to be missed — his selflessness and not only his
talent, but his personality, his character and his leadership.”