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The Brown Bears football program is the intercollegiate American football team for Brown University located in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. The team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Ivy League. Brown's first football team was fielded in 1878. The Bears play their home games at the 20,000-seat Brown Stadium in Providence, Rhode Island. The team's head coach is James Perry, who was hired on December 3, 2018.

Brown Bears football
2019 Brown Bears football team
Brown Bears wordmark.png
First season1878
Athletic directorJack Hayes
Head coachJames Perry
1st season,
StadiumBrown Stadium
(Capacity: 20,000)
Field surfaceGrass
LocationProvidence, Rhode Island
NCAA divisionDivision I FCS
ConferenceIvy League
All-time record607–565–40 (.517)
Bowl record0–1 (.000)
Conference titles4
RivalriesRhode Island (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans10
ColorsSeal Brown, Cardinal Red, and White[1]
Fight songEver True
Marching bandBrown University Band
For information on all Brown University sports, see Brown Bears



In the middle of the 1926 season, the “Iron Men” came into being when the same 11 players played against Yale for 60 minutes and a 7–0 win. The next week the same 11 players played without substitution against Dartmouth and won 10–0. Two weeks later the Iron Men played 58 minutes against Harvard, but in the last two minutes the substitutes came in to earn their letters. Brown won all its games that year until the Thanksgiving game against Colgate ended in a 10–10 tie. The famed “Iron Men” were Thurston Towle ’28, Paul Hodge ’28, Orland Smith ’27, Charles Considine ’28, Lou Farber ’29, Ed Kevorkian ’29, Hal Broda ’27, Al Cornsweet ’29, Dave Mishel ’27, Ed Lawrence ’28, and Roy Randall ’28. In the 1948 season, Brown fans were the originators of the popular "de-fense!" chant that spread to the NFL in the 1950s. Following the 1981 season, the Ivy League was reclassified to Division I-AA, today known as the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), Brown moved to Division I-AA play with the rest of the league.[2] Brown has 607 wins, making them tied for 72nd all time in wins among division one football programs.

In 1997, Phil Estes began a twenty-one year tenure as Brown's head coach, resulting in three Ivy League championships. In 2018, after two consecutive winless seasons in the Ivy League, Estes announced that he would be stepping down.[3]


The Bears have no national championships, though they do have one undefeated team, the 1926 team, also known as the Iron Men of 1926, finishing 9–0–1 (and winning all three of their Ivy League games), with a 10–10 tie with Colgate in the last game of the season.

Conference championshipsEdit

The Bears have won the Ivy League title four times in their history. The Bears won their first Ivy League title in 1976, sharing it with Yale while finishing 8–1 on the season, clinching the title with a 28–17 victory over Columbia.[4] In 1999, the Bears went 9–1 (the most victories since 1926, along with a record seven game winning streak), while beating Columbia 23–6 to share the Ivy League title with Yale.[5] In 2005, the Bears finished 9–1, beating Columbia 52–21 in their final game in order to clinch their first ever outright Ivy League title and third overall. [6] In 2008, the Bears finished 7–3 (while losing only one Ivy League game), beating Columbia 41–10 to clinch a share of the Ivy League title, their fourth over conference title and third in nine years. [7][8]

Year Conference Coach Overall record Conference record
1976 Ivy League John W. Anderson 8–1 6–1
1999 Ivy League Phil Estes 9–1 6–1
2005 Ivy League Phil Estes 9–1 6–1
2008 Ivy League Phil Estes 7–3 6–1

Bowl gamesEdit

Brown has made one bowl appearance, garnering a record of 0-1.

Season Date Bowl Coach Opponent Result
1915 January 1, 1916 Rose Bowl Eddie N. Robinson Washington State L 0-14


Rhode IslandEdit

Brown leads the series with Rhode Island 73–27–2.

College Football Hall of FamersEdit

Notable former playersEdit


  1. ^ "Brown Bears 2012 Style Guide" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 31, 2016. Retrieved April 12, 2019.
  2. ^ New York Times – 2006-11-17
  3. ^ "Estes steps down as Brown's coach". Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  4. ^ "Ivy League Championships". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Ivy League Championships". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  6. ^ "Ivy League Championship Teams". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Ivy League Championship Teams". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  8. ^ Ivy League (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit