Brown Bears

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Brown Bears
University Brown University
Conference Ivy League
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Jack Hayes
Location Providence, RI
Varsity teams 38
Football stadium Brown Stadium
Basketball arena Pizzitola Sports Center
Baseball stadium Murray Stadium
Mascot Bruno
Nickname Bears
Fight song Ever True To Brown
     Seal brown       cardinal red       white

The Brown Bears are the sports teams at Brown University, located in Providence, Rhode Island in the United States. The Bears are part of the Ivy League conference. Brown's mascot is Bruno. Both the men's and women's teams share the name, competing in 38 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I sports. In football, the Bears, along with all other the Ivy League teams, compete in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).[1]

Varsity athletics

The Bears participate in 38 NCAA sports, ranking them third among all Division I institutions for number of sports offered.[1] The Bears first fielded a football team in 1878, playing Amherst College in their inaugural game.[2]

The Bears participate in the following varsity sports:

Additions and subtractions

In 2011, a Special Committee recommended that Brown cut four varsity sports due to Brown's budget cut backs — men's fencing, women's fencing, men's wrestling, and women's skiing — and recommended elevating at least one women's sport to varsity status to ensure Title IX compliance.[3] These proposed changes would have reduced the number of varsity sports at Brown from 37 to 34. None of the four varsity programs were cut.



The Brown Bears football team competes in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) and are members of the Ivy League. Brown's first football team was fielded in 1878. The team plays its home games at the 20,000 seat Brown Stadium in Providence.

Men's Basketball

The Brown Bears men's basketball team competes in the Ivy League. The Brown Bears have appeared in the NCAA Tournament two times, including the inaugural tournament in 1939. Their combined record is 0–2. The Brown Bears have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) one time. Their record is 0–1.

Men's Soccer

The Brown Bears men's soccer team compete in the NCAA Division I in the Ivy League and are one of the most prolific collegiate men's soccer programs in the country with 27 appearances;[citation needed] the Bears have been semifinalists in the NCAA tournament in 1968, 1973, and 1975. They also finished in fourth place in 1977.[4]


Brown added rugby as a sport in part due to the growth of rugby across communities and at the high school level.[5]

Brown has offered men's rugby at Brown as a club sport since 1960.[6] Brown plays in the Ivy Rugby Conference against its traditional Ivy League rivals. Brown rugby is led by Head Coach David Laflamme. Despite its club status, Brown men's rugby is supported by an endowment raised by Brown rugby alumni that exceeds $1.5 million; this endowment funds the full-time professional head coaching position and other expenses.[6][7]

National team championships

As of July 2, 2015, Brown has 7 NCAA team national championships.[8]

  • Women's (7)
    • Rowing (7): 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011


Brown's first mascot was a burro, first introduced in 1902 in a game against Harvard.[9] The burro mascot was not retained after it seemed frightened by the noise of the game, and due to the laughter it provoked.[10] The University originally settled on the Bruin, but later changed it to a bear after the head of bear was placed at an archway above the student union in 1904.[10] In 1905 The Bears introduced Helen, the university's first live bear mascot, at a game against Dartmouth.[9] Bruno, Brown's current mascot, was introduced in 1921, originally also as a live bear.[10] A number of bears represented Bruno over the years, later being represented by a person in costume by the late 60's.[10]

Notable athletes

The Bears have produced many athletes. One of Brown's most famous athletes is John Heisman, namesake of the Heisman Trophy. Before finishing college at the University of Pennsylvania, Heisman played college football at Brown as a lineman.[11]




  • Jamie Koven (Class of 1995) – US national rower, World Champion in single scull 1997 France
  • Denis Žvegelj (Class of 1997) – Slovenian Rower, Brown Crew Varsity Eight 1994, 1995, 1992 bronze medalist in Men's Coxless Pairs
  • Porter Collins (Class of 1998) – American Rower, Brown Men's Crew Varsity Eight, 1996 and 2000 Olympian, 1999 World Champion in US Eight[12]
  • Xeno Müller – Swiss Rower, Brown Men's Crew, 1996 Gold Medalist and 2000 Silver Medalist in Single Scull at Olympic Games, 3x Silver Medalist in Single Scull at World Championships[12]

Other sports


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Brown's Athletic Program Rated Among Nation's Top 20". Retrieved 2008-04-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Celebrating 125 Years of Brown Football". Retrieved 2008-04-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Brown to cut three intercollegiate sports", Go Local Prov, April 23, 2011. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  5. "Women’s rugby is Brown’s 38th varsity sport", News from Brown, April 14, 2014.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "University Rugby Recognition - Success at Brown", Rugby Today, Allyn Freeman, February 27, 2015.
  7. "Brown University Men Select Head Coach", Rugby Today, September 8, 2015.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Football at Brown: QUARTER 1 (1878–1909)". Retrieved 2008-04-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Encyclopedia Brunoniana". Retrieved 2008-04-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Pennington, Bill (2006-12-08). "John Heisman, the Coach Behind the Trophy". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-13.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. 12.0 12.1

External links