SCHENECTADY — Packy Brown knew where he wanted to go to college and play football and lacrosse following his 2015 graduation from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.
With his father Pete an assistant football coach at Union College, Packy Brown was going to go there. But just because his father was an assistant coach for the Dutchmen, Packy Brown knew that nothing was guaranteed. Not playing time, not starting -- nothing.
After catching just 15 passes in his first two seasons, Packy Brown could be seeing more footballs thrown his way this season. The junior wide receiver caught a career-high four passes for 88 yards, including one on a fake punt, during last Saturday’s 20-7 season-opening loss to Husson.
Packy Brown and the Dutchmen will host former Liberty League foe U.S. Coast Guard Academy (1-0) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Frank Bailey Field.
“Growing up, I’ve been going to Union football games, basketball games, lacrosse games, softball games when he used to coach softball, so I’ve been here a while,” Packy Brown said. “When I was starting to get recruited for lacrosse and football, I decided that Union was definitely a good spot for me, and I ended up coming here.
“I don’t regret it for a second.”
Packy Brown knew he had to work hard to earn playing time. It probably helped Pete Brown was working with the defensive unit.
“He had known coach [John] Audino and all the rest of the coaches, literally, since he was born, so I don’t think that crossed into his mind,” said Pete Brown, who is in his 30th year as an assistant coach with the football team. “I know that his mother was real happy. It meant a lot less road trips for her. It was great for us as a family. If he had chosen another school, I would not have been able to see him play. It would have been hard on us.
“It certainly has worked out great.”
Second-year Dutchmen head coach Jeff Behrman sees a strong bond between father and son.
“They’re, obviously, very close,” Behrman said. “It’s just unique and also neat at the same time that Packy can come up to the office and see his dad when he needs to see him during the day and drop by and say hello. I think it’s nice. I think it’s something I love to have with my son, and I think Pete definitely takes it to heart and doesn’t take it for granted.”
On the fake punt, Packy Brown caught a 33-yard pass from linebacker Evan Gilland, who is the signal caller on punts.
“They’re a very aggressive team, so we put that [play] in thinking they might not cover it,” Packy Brown said. “Evan played quarterback in high school, so he just caught [the snap] and lobbed it up to me. I had a lot of green in front of me, so it was easy to get a lot of yards.”
As for his first name, Packy Brown’s given first name is Patrick.
“Jim Smith, who used to be the [football] coach at CBA, his son was named Packy, and I just like the name,” Pete Brown said. “My wife’s best friend from high school had a younger brother named Packy, and she liked it. We had to name him Patrick because my mother would have flipped out. He won’t answer you if you call him Patrick.”
The matchup between Union and U.S. Coast Guard Academy is the first meeting between the two teams since Oct. 22, 2005. Union won the game 7-0.