Tag: Chris Brown

BROWN: UPD shouldn’t issue parking tickets this semester

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With so much of campus still in construction and disarray, former student Chris Allen Brown thinks JSU should stop issuing parking tickets for the fall semester. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

 Chris Allen Brown, Special to the Chanticleer

Just take a moment and look around Jacksonville State’s campus.

There are more sets of temporary fences than at a high school softball championship tournament. There are more equipment trucks than at a John Deere store. There are more tractor trailers than at truck stops in Iowa.

You know what there isn’t a lot of? Places for students to park.

Parking has always been a topic of discussion at the beginning of each semester. At Houston Cole Library, which is also one of the countless buildings on campus still under remodeling as a result of the EF3 tornado that tripped through the Jacksonville community on March 19, students normally have to wait until the second or third week of classes to become fortunate enough to find a parking space within 500 yards of Martin Hall or McGee Science Center.

At Self Hall, if you aren’t a North resident with a green decal, good luck. Even if you do have the correct color decal, the chances of temporary fences, equipment trucks or tractor trailers taking up spots in that lot are higher than the temperature on the Burgess-Snow Field or Jim Bennett Field turfs during the early stages of August.

The solution, as crazy and it sounds, is let students park wherever they need to in order to successfully make it to class on time. Disregard the color system for at least this semester. Maybe even into the spring as most construction will still be ongoing by then. Let cars be parked along Trustee Circle. What about, while there are still workers and equipment trucks around, building another parking lot that students have been begging for?

Commuting students already have to deal with the city of Jacksonville deciding to repave Highway 21. Throw in on-campus residents, and those in apartments surrounding the western portion of campus, and it’ll be a worse traffic jam than traveling through Atlanta or Birmingham at 5 p.m. on a weekday. There has already been clashing between the community and university regarding housing the students, why make it worse by forcing students to find alternate parking locations because of something that is out of their hands? Oh, and most of the student housing buildings are still being repaired despite last Saturday marking the day students were allowed to move back in.

Close your eyes for a minute.

The parking lot in front of Pete Mathews Coliseum? Trailers.

The parking lot beside Mason Hall? Remodeling equipment.

The parking lot across from Wallace Hall? Trailers.

There was a trailer taking up parking spots in a lot behind Sparkman Hall Saturday evening. Same with Stone Center. Merrill Hall. Fitzpatrick Hall.

There is something everywhere.

There will be roughly 8,000 students attending Jacksonville State this semester. Hundreds still don’t have a place to live. Academic and housing buildings are being used despite ongoing construction. There already wasn’t enough parking before the tornado.

Do better. Do the right thing.


Thank You, Everyone.

It doesn’t take long to realize I’m one of the most awkward people you’ll ever come across, so when someone gives me a compliment, it’s really hard for me to accept it; not because I don’t appreciate the kind words, I just freeze up. I don’t know why.

As I’ve embarked on this writing journey over the last six years, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback about numerous stories I’ve written. For that, I want to say thank you.

But that’s not why I decided to start writing. I started for the people reading this. I started writing for you.

The best thing about the last six years is seeing the countless smiles in person and reactions on social media to pieces I’ve done. I’ve only wanted to shine light on those athletes who have done good in their sport or around the community.

However, it’s time for me to bring forth names of people who need to be recognized for helping me reach this point of my life:

  • If it wasn’t for Wes and Hillary Ginn, there’s no telling what I’d be doing right now. Coach Ginn gave me my first opportunity to realize my love for sport statistics as a senior in high school. The Ginn’s were among the first people to push me to become the person I am now.
  • The Anniston Star sports department for taking a college freshman in and essentially teaching him how to write. I hated writing things in school, but (current staff) Mark Edwards, Joe Medley, Rip Donovan and Jared Gravette have taught me everything. Even though (former staff) Nick Birdsong, Brandon Miller and Will Gaines have since departed, the trio had a hand in shaping the me as a sports writer. (Sidebar: Trent Penny is still one of the funniest people I know.)
  • Speaking of opportunities, the Jacksonville State Sports Information Department staff (Josh Underwood, Tony Schimt, Tyler Brown, Daniel Porter and Greg Seitz) let me gain as much experience as I was willing to learn as a student worker over the years. The weekend in Auburn for the softball regional a few years ago is still a personal highlight of mine.
  • Personally, Matt Penland, Blaire and Nathan Fulmer, Jessie Yancey, Corey McAllister, Peighton Jolley, Sean and Leslie Jones, and Marie McBurnett have, somehow, kept me at bay while life has pulled in me different directions. (I have to raise a glass to Mitchell Nichols, Cheyenne Graves, Cody Noah, Ethan Belcher, Morgan Gonshor … they know the impact they’ve had on my life over the years.)
  • Most of all, I need to thank you. Without you continuing to read and spread my work, there would be no @ChrisBrown_AL or #TeamStar or Chris Allen Brown. You deciding to click a link or pick up a newspaper or game program has let me know that people are interested in the words I type and the stories I want to share.

I know I’ve said this a lot, but I can’t echo it enough — this journey has never been about me. It’s been about telling the world that there are, in fact, good people out there.

I don’t know where life will take me over the upcoming months, but I know one thing for sure — I have the best support group, friends and family anyone can ask for.



Don’t pit Zerrick and Zion against each other

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

Scroll through the Twitter feed. Rewind those highlight tapes. Talk to them after practice.

You’ll see the praise. You’ll see that Zerrick Cooper and Zion Webb are good at a lot of things.

Cooper was in Death Valley last Saturday for Clemson’s Spring Game and was honored alongside the seniors during halftime.

Stop and think about that.

Cooper, now a sophomore, spent two years at Clemson — including his redshirt season — and did things the right way so well that he was honored despite transferring to Jacksonville State in January. Look at the replies on Twitter to ClemsonTigerNet, who tweeted Cooper was in Clemson last weekend, and you’ll see nothing but positivity.

Webb, who is a redshirt freshman out of Central-Phenix City, has been in the system for over a year now and came to Jacksonville as a highly-touted recruit. Many consider Webb a steal after most schools backed off the 6-foot, 200-pound quarterback after suffering a season-ending injury during his junior year of high school.

According to Jacksonville State head coach John Grass, both Cooper and Webb “bring something different and similar to the table” in terms of helping the Gamecock offense.

“Both of them throw the pass accurately and both have good arms and both of them can run the football,” Grass said after JSU’s non-traditional J-Day Spring Game last Thursday night. “But both have different kinds of styles running. However, both of them are being leaders and commanding the offense really well.”

Webb signed with JSU after hundreds of thousands watched former All-American Eli Jenkins set numerous records over the last four years. Having the same skill set as Jenkins, fans and alumni automatically assumed Webb would be the guy, which is no knock on All-OVC performer Bryant Horn, for years to come.

Then Cooper announced his intentions to transfer and many took to social media to express their interest and desire in the 6-foo-2, 220-pound quarterback.

But here’s the thing — don’t pit the two in a competition because they’re different guys trying to achieve the same goal, which is helping Jacksonville State back to the FCS National Championship Game.

“They both do their own thing because they each have their own thing they’re good at,” said JSU quarterback coach Cody Wells. “I think both are doing a great job of leading the offense when it’s their opportunity. I think, at times, we still have places to grow and things to get better at, but they’re moving along in the right direction.”

Just give everything time and don’t be upset if Grass and company roll out the two-quarterback system to start next season because these are two guys who can play.

Leadership helps guide JSU student-athletes to give back

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

Don’t be alarmed if you see a 7-foot male wielding a chainsaw around Jacksonville, it’s just Norbertas Giga. If you spend more time looking around, you might even see several Jacksonville State volleyball players attempting to roll a fallen tree trunk to a more convenient spot.

Before asking why you may see these sights, maybe the first question should (jokingly) be towards JSU strength and conditioning coach Gavin Hallford and if helping move trees counts as their workout for the day.

The reason that should be the first question is simple — because asking why JSU student-athletes are helping is pointless.

Why? Just continue to look around.

There’s JSU head football coach John Grass with a chainsaw. JSU softball assistant coaches Mark Wisner and Julie Boland working on a patch of land. JSU head volleyball coach Terry Gamble, his son Kyle and daughter-in-law Reagan were all helping. JSU associate athletic director for media relations Josh Underwood is there, too.

Are you beginning to see the picture here?

The reason there are so many JSU student-athletes helping around campus is because the desire to help starts at the top; it starts with those with great influence.

There’s a reason Malcolm Drumwright and Mohamed Abuarisha came straight home from last week’s College Basketball Invitational semifinal game and immediately went to work. There’s a reason Jamie McGuire, Cadi Oliver, Stephanie Lewis and Sallie Beth Burch dropped what they were doing elsewhere around the state to come back home to help.

Because it’s what they were taught to do. Helping those in need has become a staple of what Jacksonville State University is all about.

For years now, the communities surrounding Jacksonville State have traveled to support these student-athletes during sporting events, so it should come as no surprise that these same players … humans … are working around the city to help give back, to help rebuild but most importantly to help show they care.

Think back to JSU softball’s annual Fan Day. Head coach Jana McGinnis rarely does much talking at the event, but when she does, there’s always a ringing statement that’s forever imprinted on minds:

“I hope you (the fans) will consider us as your favorite team because this is home and we are always here for you.”

It may take several months — maybe a year even — before the restorations on Pete Mathews Coliseum, University Field and Rudy Abbott Field are completed, so when the football players are lined up to kick off the 2018 season, just remember to be sure to be at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium to cheer on those guys who came to help when you needed it most.

Parsons for the People: Waitressing and Greek Life assisting in Parsons helping to give back

Savanna Parsons stands in her garage, which she has set up as a donation and distribution center with the help of her sorority, Alpha Xi Delta. Members from across the state donated to the cause.

By Chris Allen Brown/Associate Editor

Whether it’s picking up a chainsaw to cut trees or bringing people food at a restaurant, everyone has different ways of helping the city of Jacksonville and the surrounding communities following the devastating tornado last week.

For Savanna Parsons, she is just doing what she’s good at and that’s talking to people and making connections.

Parsons, an Alexandria High graduate, has been a waitress at Heroes: An American Grille on Highway 21 for the last eight months while also juggling multiple other jobs and being a student at Jacksonville State University.

Less than 48 hours after her friends and sister, Olivia, were displaced because of the EF3 tornado which struck JSU’s campus, Parsons took to social media to announce her way of helping:

“(I’m) Donating all of my tips made at work (Wednesday) through Sunday to my people in need! I work at Heroes in Jacksonville! Stop by for a drink, food, or just to donate.”

But the helpfulness doesn’t stop there.

Parsons is also a member of JSU’s Alpha Xi Delta chapter.

Last summer, she went to a conference and made connections to many other chapters around the country. When those chapters heard about last week’s events, they immediately reached out and started donating clothes and other necessities.

“At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it or not because I didn’t want people to think I was wanting it to all be about me,” Parsons said during a brief break Sunday evening before an expected party of 30 people arrived. “I’m really just trying to help people. Like, there’s a girl in my education department who has nothing now and is about to graduation and I really just wanted to do something.”

Prior to her shift Sunday, Parsons said she has earned over $1,300 in tips after working Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. She went on to say she’s planning to share it with anyone who needs help.

“I really want to give it to anyone who has been affected,” Parsons said. “We have a guy here at work and I plan to give him some because he found out his apartment is pretty bad. There’s another girl who lost her entire house but doesn’t go to JSU, so a lot of people aren’t talking about those areas that need help, too.”

Parsons said she’s able to do this, because she’s budgeted her money months before and is months ahead on her monthly rent payment. A combination of “probably the highest paying night of the year so far” on St. Patrick’s Day just a week ago and not going on spring break also helped her out.

“I believe we are a really small community and everyone knows everyone,” Parsons said. “Since we are a small school, it’s easy to find out how to help and what people need, so that’s what it’s all about … helping one another.”