Mt. Diablo High Hall of Famers, ex-Cal Bears Tom Brown, Pat Micco died this summer

Mt. Diablo High Hall of Famers, ex-Cal Bears Tom Brown, Pat Micco died this summer

Mt. Diablo High Hall of Famers, ex-Cal Bears Tom Brown, Pat Micco died this summer
Tom Brown and Pat Micco

[Also read about the history of Hart Fairclough Stadium and Peter J. Kramer Gymnasium]

CONCORD, CA—A pair of legendary Mt. Diablo High School athletes, who both went on to play football and rugby at Cal Berkeley, recently died from illnesses. Three-sport standout Tom Brown from the class of 1961 and Pat Micco, a Red Devil football and track and field standout who was 10 years younger, passed just weeks apart this summer.

Brown died after a battle with ALS (known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Marty Piscovich, his long-time friend since the third grade at Concord Elementary School, said, “arguably Tom is one of the best ever athletes, if not the best, in MD sports history.”

Piscovich was part of the inaugural MDHS Sports Hall of Fame class in 2003 and Brown was inducted the following year. Micco was inducted in 2017.

Tom Brown 1944-2020

Mt. Diablo High School and University of California

Lifelong Friends

Following grade school, Brown went to Loma Vista Intermediate and Piscovich to Glenbrook before they reunited as Red Devil freshmen. Ironically, all three of those Concord primary school sites now house different programs or names (Concord Elementary is Olympic High). When they were 12 years old, the duo was part of the first-ever season of Concord Little League at City Park (where Concord Library and City Hall are now located).

Their 1959 and ‘60 Mt. Diablo football teams won back-to-back Diablo Valley Athletic League championships, losing only one game each year. Over their four years of high school football the duo’s teams were 26-3-3.

Fullback/defensive lineman Brown and quarterback Piscovich also played basketball and baseball all four years at the Concord school. Brown was a unanimous all-DVAL player his senior season. Brown, Piscovich and five other teammates from the championship Red Devils accounted for seven of the 12 players on the all-league team (at that time there weren’t separate offensive and defensive all-league teams since most players went both ways).

Brown also excelled on the basketball court as a center, although his senior season was shortened by the flu. He was all-county as a junior and still got honorable mention for his abbreviated senior season. In his sophomore year the team also included future school Hall of Fame players Gary Casey and Jim Liggett.

Later in the year Brown was named third-team football all-America with Piscovich getting honorable mention by the same national publication. Brown won the prestigious PJ Kramer Award as the school’s top athlete for the 1960-61 school year.

The duo was selected for the North team in the 1961 North-South Shrine Football Game held every summer among the best graduated high school players in the state at the Los Angeles Coliseum. They were joined by their Mt. Diablo coach Hart Fairclough, who completed his fifth season at the school with an overall 32-8-1 record.

The other North QB with Piscovich was Craig Morton, who would become Brown’s Cal Berkeley teammate. For the South, the QB was John Huarte of Mater Dei High, who went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame.

At Cal, Brown was a three-year letterwinner between 1962 and ’65. His first two season the Golden Bears head coach was Marv Levy, who led the Buffalo Bills to four Super Bowls.

Assistant coach Mike White, a future Golden Bears, Illinois and Oakland Raiders head coach, recruited Brown. White told the two-way star he could be a runningback in Berkeley. Piscovich says Brown joked in later years that after one or two Cal practices he realized his future was on the line and he became a guard.

He also loved playing for Cal rugby and was on the undefeated 1965 Golden Bears who toured Australia and New Zealand, the first American team to play there in 55 years.

Lifelong friends Marty Piscovich and Tom Brown got together in April 2019.

Brown, 76 when he passed this month, is survived by his wife of 53 years, Cathie Cryer Brown, a former six-term mayor of Livermore. The couple met at Cal where she was a cheerleader.

He was only diagnosed with ALS last December. A Tom Brown cut out is in the Oakland Coliseum for A’s games in an ALS section arranged by Mike Piscotty, Steven Piscotty‘s dad, who lost his wife Gretchen to the disease.

Both Micco and Brown played before North Coast Section high school playoffs began in the mid-1970’s, so appearances in all-star games after the senior year was their only post-season action. Each were selected to the County All-Decade football team despite playing at the beginning of their respective decades.

Piscovich went to University of Southern California as a catcher. His sophomore year the Trojans won the College World Series and they were third his junior year. When Piscovich was a senior USC added a young pitcher named Tom Seaver but didn’t make the World Series. The Mt. Diablo grad then signed a pro contract with the Phillies and went to spring training with the big club the following year before being sent to the Carolina League where opposing teams included Rod Carew and Johnny Bench.

Patrick Micco 1953-2020

Mt. Diablo High School and University of California

Micco (MDHS Class of 1971) was a starting guard for the Joe Roth and Chuck Muncie-led Cal football team which was 1975 Pac-8 co-champion. He was joined on the Golden Bears offensive line that year at tackle by Mt. Diablo teammate Joe DeRosa, who was inducted posthumously to the high school’s Hall of Fame in 2016, a year before Micco, his classmate from grade school at Queen of All Saints.

The 67-year-old Micco died last month after a long battle with prostate cancer. He was a two-way starter for three years on the Red Devils football team, making all-Diablo Valley Athletic League on offense and defense. He was selected to both the Contra Costa-Alameda and North-South Shrine all-star football games. He also threw the discus and shot put for three years for the Diablo track and field team.

At Cal, he earned seven varsity letters between football and rugby. The legendary 1975 Cal football team finished with a top 15 national ranking and led the nation in total offense, incredibly gaining 2,522 yards each passing and rushing, leading the nation in total offense. The offensive line only allowed six QB sacks all year. Micco later also played rugby for a number of club teams who competed nationally and internationally.

Since his induction to his school’s Hall of Fame Micco funded an annual $500 Micco Collegiate Scholarship Award, given to a foster child or the son or daughter of an immigrant. His wife of nearly 40 years, Leslie, recently wrote to Hall of Fame coordinator Lou Adamo to tell him her husband definitely wanted to have his family continue that donation.

The Micco’s live in El Dorado Hills where Leslie Micco said they can see the school’s namesake Mount Diablo. “Pat would say with a big grin on his face ‘do you know I’m in the Hall of Fame there?’”

More on Pat Micco and Tom Brown

Video about Tom Brown and his Cal Rugby team’s 1965 trip to Australia and New Zealand:

Pat Micco Obituary: Micco cog in historic Cal offense

Click here for a video about 1975 Cal Bears football team




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