Clay Brown Athlete Profile

#85 Clay Brown

Clay Brown
Position: Tight End Height: 6-3 Weight: 222 Roster Years: 1976-1980 Hometown: San Gabriel, CA Hall of Fame: 1999

  • 1999 Football




All-America

  • 1979 AP Honorable Mention
  • 1979 UPI Honorable Mention
  • 1980 UPI Second Team
  • 1980 AP Third Team

1999 Hall of Fame Inductee

The Catch. With no time left on the clock in Holiday Bowl III, a lone BYU receiver went up against a trio of SMU defenders and came down with the winning touchdown. That 41-yard touchdown reception capped BYU¹s first bowl victory and one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA football history.

That's how Clay Brown will be remembered, whenever and wherever BYU fans gather.

No wonder they inducted Clay into the Holiday Bowl Hall of Fame.

"The Catch" was a fitting end to an outstanding senior season for Brown. In 1980, this San Gabriel, CA product led the nation with TD receptions by a tight end (15) and was fittingly named All-America by the United Press International (Second Team) and the Associated Press (Third Team). For the season he led BYU and the Western Athletic Conference in scoring (90 points) and set the BYU all-time record for touchdown receptions. For his career, Clay had 88 receptions for 1,691 yards and 17 TDs.

Tight end is a position that requires great versatility. They have to block like a lineman, run over defenders like a running back, catch finger-tip passes like a wide receiver. Brown did all this and more. He further demonstrated his remarkable athletic versatility by sending booming punts deep into opponents' territory, leading the nation in 1979 with an average of 45.3 yards per kick. He won All-WAC honors as a tight end in both 1979 and 1980, with the distinction of also being named the 1979 all-conference punter.

While Brigham Young University has been called "QB" U, BYU also opened the doors of its Tight End Factory with Clay Brown as a prototype. Following in the footsteps of Clay's success, fellow All-American tight ends Gordon Hudson, David Mills, Trevor Molini, Chris Smith, Chad Lewis, and Ituli Mili have come through the BYU program.

Brown graduated from BYU in business management in 1981, the same year he was the second round draft pick of the NFL's Denver Broncos. As a member of the Broncos Alumni Council, he continues to volunteer time with numerous charities including the American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Hospital, and various school districts and universities.

Currently Clay is a loan officer at Cendant Mortgage in Colorado, and not surprisingly, his performance in the workplace continues to bring him honors. He is a member of the Cendant Mortgage President¹s Club and was Sales Manager of the Year at American Savings Bank. Clay currently lives in Littleton, CO.

Personal

  • Married to Ria Fonosch
  • B.S. in business management from BYU 1981

Career Highlights

  • Led the nation in punting with a 45.3 yard average 1979
  • Was All-WAC as a tight end and honorable mention All-America for AP and UPI 1979
  • Saw backup action behind pro draft Tod Thompson 1978
  • Did part of the punting chores, averaging 39.7 yards 1978
  • As a tight end had nine receptions for 184 yards 1978

Before BYU

  • One of the fine athletes to come out of San Gabriel High, Clay lettered three years in football, two in basketball
  • Was MVP as basketball forward
  • Also MVP back fo the year with 800 yards on 95 carries (8.4 average)
  • Had punting average of 45.6...team champion of Mission Valley League
  • 3.2 GPA

After BYU 

  • Is a member of Broncos Alumni Council and volunteers with the American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy, Children's Hospital and various school districts and universities
  • Works as a loan officer at Cendant Mortgage in Colorado

Post BYU Honors and Societies

  • Member of the Cendant Mortgage President's Club
  • Sales Manager of the Year at American Savings Bank
  • Inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame 1999


1976 | Freshman Year

  • JV starter
  • Averaged 53.7 yards in seven punts against Air Force Academy JV

1977 | Redshirt Year

Redshirted.

1978 | Sophomore Year

  • Saw backup action behind pro draft Tod Thompson
  • Did part of the punting chores, averaging 39.7 yards
  • As a tight end had nine receptions for 184 yards
  • His 71-yard reception against Wyoming via Jim McMahon is the longest non-scoring pass in WAC history

1979 | Junior Year

  • Led the nation in punting with a 45.3 yard average
  • Was All-WAC as a tight end and honorable mention All-America for AP and UPI
  • Had 12 punts over 50 yards including a 64-yarder against both Texas A&M and Utah and a 60-yarder against Colorado State
  • Received coaches' player of the week honors five times
  • Had two receptions and scored a TD against Texas A&M
  • Had six receptions against UTEP for 89 yards...was eight for 124 yards against Long Beach State
  • Was nine for 142 against Indiana
  • Season stats: 43 punts for 1,950 yards; 31 receptions for 498 yards and two TDs