Hanover Alumna Leads Effort To Rename Track In Memory of Late Coach
Karina Lukovits (HHS ’15) is one of many former Hanover High students who participated in track and field under the late Coach Chris Brown. Brown, who passed away in the October of 2016 at the age of 64 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, coached track and field in Hanover since 1993 and positively touched the lives of many students and athletes like Lukovits. It is for this reason that Lukovits is now organizing an effort that aims to convince the school the rename the HHS track after Brown in order to commemmorate his legacy. Here is what she had to say on the matter in a Broadside interview.
BROADSIDE: Why did you start the effort to rename the HHS Track after Coach Brown? What was your personal experience with him?
LUKOVITS: Coach Brown was a huge role model for me throughout my time at HHS. I ran winter and spring track all four years, and Chris coached me and cheered for me in every single race that I ran. With everyone he interacted with, the message from Coach was clear: give it everything you’ve got, you CAN do this. I entered every race after Chris’ pep talks with a sense of importance, capability, and adrenaline that I would have never been able to generate for myself. And after every single race, Chris never failed to greet every runner with a pat on the back and a word of congratulations at the other side of the finish line, no matter what place they finished in. Coach Brown enkindled in me a passion to be a competitor with others, but most importantly a competitor with myself, instilling in me a constant desire for improvement. Unfortunately Coach Brown passed away in the fall of 2016. Since then I have been brainstorming potential ways to commemorate the incredible impact that Chris had on me as an athlete and a young member of my community. The more I talk to other athletes and members of the Upper Valley that knew him, the more I have realized that Coach Brown changed so many lives in the way that he changed mine, and I think that naming the track in his honor would be the perfect way to represent this. Coach Brown was special to so many athletes at HHS but also to so much of the Upper Valley, and I would love to see his name outside the track so that future students and community members can appreciate the impact he had even if they will never get a chance to meet him.
BROADSIDE: It is said that you started a Facebook group where people who have trained under Coach Brown can share stories about their experiences with him. Have lots of people reached out? Which stories have stood out to you?
LUKOVITS: Yes, I have started a Facebook group called “HHS Track in Memory of Chris Brown” and I encourage everyone who knew him to join! The stories that people have posted are incredible and perfectly sum up why he was so special. I started the group by adding people that I ran with at HHS, but the group has now grown to include many people in the Upper Valley that want to share their own special Coach Brown experiences. I can honestly say that I have read every story that has been posted at least three times, because each one highlights another facet of Chris’ hilarious and supportive personality. I have especially loved reading the stories from people that I have never met, because it brings a smile to my face that Chris has impacted so many more people than I could have imagined.
BROADSIDE: We’ve heard that you plan on meeting with school officials in April to discuss your proposal. Is this true? If so, how do you plan to convince them? Have they been receptive to you so far?
LUKOVITS: Yes, it is true! I am scheduled to give a presentation to the school board on April 24th about my hopes of naming the track after Coach Brown. I am going to take all of the stories that people have shared and put them together into a presentation full of pictures and quotes that people have also sent in. I encourage everyone to post pictures, stories, and quotes to the Facebook page if they knew Chris and haven’t contributed already. People can also send stories etc. to my email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I am also hoping that I can get as many people to come to the meeting in person as well. The superintendent was very receptive to my ideas and I have confidence that we can make this happen!