Paul Eugene Brown (September 7, 1908 - August 5, 1991) was a pioneering figure in football history, and is considered the father of the modern offense. He was born in Norwalk, Ohio, in the "cradle of coaches" in northern Ohio. He graduated from Washington High School in Massillon, Ohio in 1925. In 1929, he graduated from Miami University (Ohio).
Brown began a 61-year career in football in 1930. He was first a teacher and coach. From 1932 to 1940, Brown won 80 games while losing just 8 at his alma mater. In 1941, he graduated to the college ranks. In three seasons coaching Ohio State University he won 27 additional games. During World War II Brown was coach of the football team at Great Lakes Pre-Flight.
After the war, a rival league to the National Football League, the All America Football Conference (AAFC) was founded. Brown was named coach of the Cleveland franchise which was named in his honor. As coach of the Cleveland Browns, Brown won four AAFC titles and three NFL titles. He resigned as coach after the 1962 season.
In 1967, Brown returned to professional football as founding owner of the Cincinnati Bengals of the American Football League. Against the wishes of many AFL owners and fans, he did not support the retention of the name and logo of the American Football League when the NFL merged with the AFL. This was in spite of the fact that the AFL was the genesis of professional football as it is known today. Brown coached the Bengals for eight seasons. Brown served as team president until his death in 1991.
Brown has been honored in a variety of ways. In 1965, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. A street is named for him in Massillon. Paul Brown Stadium, current home of the Cincinnati Bengals, is also named for him.