Blue and Gold Illustrated

December 2015 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW TODD D. BURLAGE S tories and accounts of high school coaches making an important dif- ference in turning young and im- pressionable athletes into confident college stars are too many to count. In fact, many former athletes even- tually become coaches later in life be- cause of the positive influence their own mentors made years earlier. The positive cycle rolls on. However, the player-coach relation- ship between Notre Dame senior Chris Brown and his former track coach at Hanahan High School in southeastern South Carolina is different because the admiration and appreciation runs so deeply both ways. Brown thanks David Pratt for help- ing a talented young man become mature and prepared enough to even consider going to Notre Dame. "Coach Pratt made me believe that I can move mountains," Brown said. "And I really believe in my heart that any success I have had in my life is because of the way he showed me how proud he was of who I am. "I owe everything to Coach Pratt." Pratt credits Brown's leadership and contagious enthusiasm for being the foundation of his track program. "Chris is the main reason that we were successful here at Hanahan," said Pratt, whose team won three state titles after Brown joined the program. "Chris has a charisma about him. You just kind of gravitate toward him. He got things going by getting people out and then making all of them better." As a high school junior in 2011, Brown led Hanahan to its first-ever South Carolina track and field cham- A Player, A Coach And A Common Bond Senior wide receiver Chris Brown credits his expe- rience as a track and field state champion under coach David Pratt at Hanahan (S.C.) High School for giving him the confidence to succeed on the gridiron and in the classroom at Notre Dame. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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