Kippy Brown’s “Way”

Written by Chris Hari | Photos by Bruce and Chris Hari

The ceremony and dedication are over and what remains is a big sign naming the curved street in front of Sweetwater High School “Kippy Brown Way.”  Kippy Brown is a hometown guy who has made it to the top, starting with quarterbacking SHS’s state championship football teams in 1971 and 72.  The sign highlights many of his career achievements and serves as a daily reminder to all students who attend SHS, now and in the future, that you can achieve anything with hard work, pride and persistence.

This lasting sign of encouragement to young people to follow their dreams was the vision of Sweetwater native, Shelby Billingsley.   At half-time of Super Bowl 2014, she said to her husband Claytor, “When the Seahawks beat Denver (Broncos were favored to win), this town needs to do something permanent to celebrate Kippy, because he is a true champion.  There is a story behind his glory and it is one of hard work and being a genuinely good man.  We need to recognize his achievements and inspire our kids.”   Kippy Brown was the Wide Receiver Coach of the Seattle Seahawks as they beat the Broncos against all odds. 

Shelby started the next day to make Kippy Brown Way happen.  She wrote a proposal to the School Board and gained approval.  She formed a committee of key people including:  David Watts, former Sweetwater High Principal;  Jessica Morgan, County Recorder, and her assistant, Hayley Isbill; Tim Crawford with Sweetwater Parks and Recreation;  Carmen Tegano, Assistant Athletic Director at UT; Anthony Oggs who played high school football with Kippy; and, Kippy’s brother, Sam, who is assigned by the City of Knoxville to protect the Mayor and other dignitaries, and is head of security for the UT football team.  Kippy’s wife, Deon, also helped by notifying Kippy’s old friends who no longer reside in Sweetwater of the event.  Says Shelby, “everyone pulled their weight and things just fell into place.” 

The event held June 21, 2014, in the “Bowl” in front of the high school was a huge success, far exceeding Kippy Brown’s expectations.  Shelby summed up the success, “It was more than we thought it would be, but what we hoped it would be…it couldn’t have had a better ending.”

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