NHS Sports Hall of Fame: Frank Pearsall Browne

The following was submitted for publication in The Evening Sun, by Norwich Athletic Director Joseph Downey, regarding the first of many indictions into the NHS Athletic Hall of Fame.

Frank Pearsall Browne, born in Elmira in 1901, came to Norwich as a young boy when his father was appointed General Secretary of the Railroad YMCA, located on the corner of East Main and Midland.

Perry, as he was to be known, graduated from Norwich High School -- but his heart never left. His interest in sports and his talent for writing were nurtured there.

From the first day that he set up shop at The Norwich Sun, Perry Browne was destined to become the heart and soul of Norwich High School athletics. Perry’s typewriter spoke to his town every day he lived. The coaches, athletes, and parents of athletes in his time would remember and they would cheer his Hall of Fame election.

In 1935, a young Perry Browne gave Norwich High School his most endearing gift. In a story that October, leading up to the Binghamton game, he unwrapped it in print-- his first reference to a “Purple Tornado.” It caught the fancy of school officials and became, to this day, the ever-popular nickname of all athletic teams here. This alone, many believe, earns him an enduring acknowledgement and a permanent recognition.

In Perry’s time, sports coverage was very provincial. Although The Norwich Sun was a county-seat newspaper, it was not, then, a county newspaper. For Perry there was only Norwich High School, and he gave it his full heart and full voice. His style of writing may not have been taught in journalism school. It was more personal, more pictorial. Perry took you there -- even if you had already been there. He brought to his desk a quiet passion, an unwavering devotion and personal concern for the well-being of the young people about whom he wrote.

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