Mario Brown, a running back who has dominated in every league he has played since the third grade, is an accomplished 20 year old with a warm and humble spirit.
Born and raised in Berkeley, he attended Bishop O’ Dowd High School and was a football standout. Nicknamed “Super Mario,” he was light on his feet and could often be seen zooming down the field, football in hand.
In his junior year, he received the Scooter Oats award of $1,000 because of his athletic achievements, and as a senior, he was named MVP of the year.
It is hard to imagine that this beast on the football field is an extremely humble and kindhearted young man. “I am just a regular person. I just have happened to be very blessed,” Mario says.
His blessings and hard work paid off because he was offered six football scholarships from colleges all over the U.S. Mario ended up attending Eastern Washington University (EWU) with a football scholarship of over $20,000.
In many college football programs, athletes do not play their first year. But when Taiwan Jones, the team’s running back and now a player for the Oakland Raiders, was hurt during a crucial playoff game, Mario was hurled into the spotlight.
“It all rested on my shoulders. A lot of people and fans were skeptical. It was a big game televised on ESPN, and the playoffs are win or go home,” said Mario.
Mario rose to the challenge and played one of his best games, moving his team on to the FCS national championships. EWU players were the underdogs and were set to play 12-2 Delaware for the championship. Going into the fourth quarter of the game, EWU was down 13 points.
“All eyes were on me, and I didn’t want to fail my team,” Mario remembers.
With the help of Mario, EWU made a miraculous comeback and won the game 20-19. His first year of playing college football Mario won a FCS championship ring and his school’s first national championship.
But even with all his athletic accomplishments Mario never loses sight of the importance of school. “The key word is student, you are a student athlete, and student comes first,” Mario said. He won an award for his academic achievements that same year.
Mario comes from an extremely supportive family. “Football is mentally tough, and my family keeps me grounded,” he said.
Mario urges all young people to follow their dreams, “You have to have a dream and a passion. That is how it all starts. It becomes a reality through discipline, hard work, and sacrifices. You have to make it happen for yourself.”