Curtis Brown, once BYU’s all-time leading rusher, packing a big father load now
Curtis Brown broke Jamal Willis’ all-time rushing record at BYU and now he’s in Fresno living the life of a father and husband with triplets. He respects his record-breakers who followed.
PROVO — From the “Where are they now” files ...
BYU’s former all-time leading rusher Curtis Brown is packing a huge responsibility these days in Clovis, just outside Fresno, California.
He’s a husband and father of four kids. The thing is, three of his children are triplets, a power-packed challenge for any couple. And when his wife Kim goes to her once-a-week shift as an emergency room nurse in Fresno, he’s got the mother lode as a parent on his hands.
And he loves it.
The triplets turned 7 on Thursday, 21 combined years in a trio he and Kim have nurtured, coached and watch go to elementary school until schools closed last month. Their names are Cruze, Julie and Kash. The youngest child, Trey, who Curtis calls their little spitfire, will turn 6 in July.
“He’s bigger than all of them,” said Brown. “And louder than all of them.”
My daughter has twins and I asked her and her friends who have multiples what it’s like. She said it’s like herding cats. A friend said it’s like eggs in a blender kind of life.
Back in 2006, Brown broke Jamal Willis’ 12-year-old BYU career rushing record. He says he got the opportunity because at that time, with Robert Anae’s emphasis on run-blocking and the run game, all the running backs knew they’d be given a chance to make a splash in a program known for the forward pass.
And that’s exactly what happened. Brown’s record set in 2006 was 3,221 yards (5.0 yards per carry, 31 touchdowns), surpassing the Willis mark of 2,970 (5.2 ypc, 35 touchdowns), set in 1994. Brown got 641 carries compared to the 576 given to the tall, long-striding Willis.
And like dominoes, Brown’s record was broken in succession by Harvey Unga (2009) and then Jamaal Williams (2016).
Brown was a tough runner with great vision. He had a knack for making a hip move, setting his foot in the ground and gaining a few extra yards. He played with other great offensive weapons like receiver Todd Watkins and quarterback John Beck.
“I remember they finished the new athletic building for student-athletes and I saw all those trophy cases and really got to see the history of BYU. It was impressive to walk by Jamal’s trophies and see his accolades. Obviously, he worked on the academic side in the department and he still looked like he could play. I mean, his arms were huge and you know, just being in the presence of greatness, you are humbled and respect the ones that have come before you.
“I knew with coach Bronco Mendenhall and Anae we were going to do things differently and I knew it would be only a matter of time before that record was broken. I’m proud of Harvey becoming the running backs coach. Jamaal Williams was able to take his skills to the next level (Green Bay Packers).
“Records are meant to be broken. I’m proud of those guys and I don’t have anything but respect for them,” Brown adds. “I’m proud to be in the same category as them, like I couldn’t be more appreciative of those who have come before me.”
“Records are meant to be broken. I’m proud of those guys and I don’t have anything but respect for them. I’m proud to be in the same category as them, like I couldn’t be more appreciative of those who have come before me.” — Curtis Brown
Brown said former teammate Bryce Mahuika (receiver) had twins right before he and Kim had their triplets and he reached out to Mahuika for some pointers and advice for raising multiples. “I wouldn’t say it ever becomes easier, but it becomes a different kind of hard. I would say we were able to mentally prepare for being overwhelmed and so its kind of become our normal.”
Brown said his wife has handled it much better than he has because she remains calmer. “There are times when I’m expected to take the kids for the night and it’s definitely humbling,” he said. “I have a glimpse of what she’s doing with the rest of the week while I’m at work.”
After leaving BYU, he worked in pharmaceuticals and then joined up with former Cougars QB Blaine Fowler and teammates Spencer Nead, Mike Tanner and Mahuika working for Stryker, a medical equipment company, for a year. He then switched back to working in medicine and is now with Bristol-Meyers selling cancer medication.
Brown came to BYU in the Gary Crowton recruiting class of 2002 with Bryan Kehl, Fui Vakapuna, Andrew George and Ben Olson.
Brown ran for 7,045 yards at Paraclete High in Palmdale, California. By the time he finished his career at BYU, he not only held the career rushing record but his 15 games with 100-yards rushing was another BYU mark.
He ran behind the power blocks of Jake Kuresa and converted defensive lineman Scott Young.