DeRon BrownProfessor Patrick Henry Winston ’65, SM ’67, PhD ’70

I went to the last football game of the season last night. I went because it wasn’t just any last football game, it was DeRon Brown’s last football game. I was drawn to it as if it were the last solar eclipse of the century.

Now priorities are such that our football team is a true Division III team, and the players play for the love of the game. So when one of our players reaches DeRon’s level—rushing for 170 yards per game, attracting national attention—I just have to go see him play.

I had taught DeRon Artificial Intelligence in 6.034 when he was a junior. As soon as I saw him, I went to the web for a look at the MIT football roster, and as I expected, there he was, along with the emerging story of his amazing record. DeRon showed up regularly in class, looked interested, and did well.

So, I had to go, and I dragged my daugther, Sarah, also a senior, along on the trip to Endicott College. We quickly spotted DeRon’s mom, Kim, and dad, Chris. Kim wore a jacket with a big number 20, her son’s number; Chris looked just like his son. They had driven seven hours or so from their home in the small town of Galax, Virginia.

Alas, DeRon got a mild concussion early in the game, so it wasn’t a night for his usual spectacular performance. But he was fun to watch anyway. He looked fast even when he was just standing still on the sidelines.

After the game, I ran into David Nackoul, a standout lineman who graduated with a course VI degree a year ago. I asked him why DeRon was so good. He explained that DeRon is unlike other backs who, when they get in trouble, run sideways, run backwards, or start stutter stepping. “When DeRon makes a cut,” he said, “he always keeps moving forward.”

What a motto that would make! Always moving forward. I must find someone who can translate that into Latin for me.