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Staying cool under pressure

Northern Arizona University alumnus Travis Brown knows what it means to stay cool under pressure. As starting quarterback for the football team from 1996-99, Brown shattered multiple offensive records for the Lumberjacks, and ended up as the school’s all-time leader in several categories, including touchdowns, total offensive yards, and passing yards.

After a six year career in the National Football league, Brown now uses relies on his experience and knowledge to help others. A married father of five, he has had multiple professional roles, and now serves as the campus pastor for Christ Church of the Valley.

“My experience now as a pastor allows me to do what I love to do and that is be with people and walk with them through life,” Brown says. “Through my experience through sports and through going to school at NAU, I couldn’t have asked for a better foundation to be laid in my life for my future.”

 Growing into a professional

According to Brown, the path to his own personal and professional growth began when he moved to Flagstaff. The university had always been his destination of choice, and Brown explains the relationships he forged during his time at the university more than confirmed the fact that he made the right decision.

“I met my wife at the university – we have five kids now, and have been married almost ten years,” Brown says. “From a football standpoint, we beat Montana at home in 1997, and made it to the playoffs, which really stands out. The thing I miss the most – and took the most from – are the relationships with my teammates, and the interactions in the locker room and the huddle.”

Once he graduated, though, he established a whole new series of relationships as a quarterback in the NFL. For Brown, who was inducted into the Northern Arizona University athletic hall of fame in 2004, playing at such a high level was a dream come true. During his career, Brown played with superstars like Peyton Manning and Drew Bledsoe. Along the way, he learned some key lessons for succeeding as an NFL player.

“As an undrafted player, I had to go above and beyond in terms of knowing what to do and being able to do it,” Brown says. “I had to work hard, and bring a little extra to the table in terms of locker room presence and work ethic. As a quarterback, you have so many irons in the fire, and can really influence the direction the team is going, so I had to be well-rounded, willing to work, and willing to put in something extra.”

Becoming a mentor

Following his time in the NFL, Brown took on many roles, but he explains that the teamwork he was part of at Northern Arizona University laid the groundwork for these experiences.

“My experience through playing football at the college level as well as at the NFL level has prepared me in amazing ways for what I do now,” Brown says. “Being a part of a team and interacting with so many different types of people has helped me tremendously.”

Through all his professional roles–quarterback coach, youth football league director, entrepreneur, and pastor–Brown remains thankful for the preparation he received as a university student-athlete.

“NAU opened so many doors for me,” Brown says. “Spending four years in Flagstaff really gave me a foundation, and gave me the confidence I needed to succeed in the real world.”