Nick Brown is arguably the greatest Woodland Park High School football player in the history of the school. Now in his late 30s, he is giving back to the program.
Brown is the title sponsor for this year’s golf tournament fundraiser for the football team. The event will take place July 31 at Shining Mountain Golf Course and Event Center.
“I love to help out the football program in any way I can,” said Brown, a 2001 WPHS graduate. “The program has struggled. I want to help it get back on its feet.”
Brown was a four-year starter for the Panthers from 1997-2000. An all-purpose player, over the course of his career he was a quarterback, wide receiver, running back, punter, kick returner and free safety.
With Brown leading the way, Woodland Park won conference titles in 1999 and 2000. The 2000 team advanced to the Class 3A championship game, where it lost to Cañon City. That 2000 Panthers’ squad was the last Woodland Park team to play in the postseason.
“We beat Cañon City by 20 points during the regular season,” Brown recalled. “We had to go down there and play the championship game and things didn’t go our way. Some of my most special memories are of high school football.”
Brown was a star free safety at Princeton University from 2001-05. He returned to Woodland Park in 2006 and got involved in the real estate industry with his father, Allen Brown. In 2009, Nick Brown started High Country Healing, a marijuana dispensary with four locations throughout the state.
“It’s awesome that Nick is helping us out with the tournament,” said Woodland Park football coach Joe Roskam. “He’s going above and beyond for us.”
Last year, Brown purchased a trailer for the football program so that it can haul its equipment to and from games.
“The fact that Nick wants to step up and help us out is amazing,” Roskam said. “It’s important that guys come back and help us out so our guys can realize we have some history.”
Brown is also using his sponsorship of this year’s golf tournament as a way to honor two of his former Woodland Park assistant coaches – Dan Makris and Mark Sampson. They were both on the Panthers’ staff in 1999 and 2000. Both men died last spring.
Also on those Woodland Park staffs was Richard Dispenza, who died in 2011.
“All three of those guys were very special to me,” Brown said as he broke down in tears. “They are all very dear to my heart.
“Coach Makris was an assistant all four years I was there. He was a teacher so I also saw him around school. Coach Sam was a custodian who became a football coach. He was a vibrant guy. He was a powerlifter, so he was always jacked. All the kids loved him. And what can I say about Coach D?. I never knew anybody who loved football and kids more than him.”
There are many ways to get involved with the tournament. Sponsorship runs from $250 to $500. The cost to play is $75 per person or $300 for a foursome. A luncheon and raffle follow that day’s golfing. Things get underway with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.