Brutus has been involved in many great stunts during his lifetime, but one for the ages took place at the 1971 Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Tim Brown, personifying Brutus, who was still sporting his fiberglass head with the moveable eyebrows, worked up a pre-game skit with the cheerleaders. The cheerleaders divided into two teams, Ohio State and Opponent. A cheerleader playing the role of center jumped over the football, played by Brutus, to hand off Brutus to the Quarterback, who maneuvered a quarterback sneak. As the QB and Brutus progressed toward the end zone, Opponent players feigned being tackled by hitting the shell and bouncing off it. The Quarterback and Brutus scored! The Ohio State fans cheered–and likely laughed too!
The second big Brutus event at that bowl game versus Stanford was, Tim hopes, less noticeable. At the end of the third quarter, when Ohio State was ahead 17 – 13, Tim started a wild dance on the sidelines to TBDBITL’s crowd-energizing rendition of “Hang On Sloopy.” After the dance, he needed to quickly kneel so fans could see over his bulk. Disaster Part I: Tim’s pants ripped from his zipper to his waist. Knowing his pants showed where the fiberglass shell ended, Tim lengthened the suspenders that kept him balanced in the costume. Disaster Part II: by covering the open air section of his pants, Tim had no room for his own head. He had to portray Brutus with his head tilted 45 degrees until the end of the game. Knowing he couldn’t remove the head on the field as usual, quick-thinking Tim marched off the field with the band. Whew!
Tim Brown matriculated Ohio State in the fall of 1967, when Brutus was just two years old. Tim joined Block “O.” After a season, Tim interviewed for their Brutus committee. He said, “I applied; I got the job.” It was that simple. It was an apprenticeship of sorts—serving on the committee that supported Brutus, dividing the games with the tenured Brutus, then moving into the main spot.
Game collage of Brutus on field.
Tim wears Block “O” leadership sweater.
Beginning his sophomore year, Tim shared Brutus duties with Dave Hocevar. Because of Brutus’s width (slightly larger than a standard door frame) and inflexibility (the hard fiberglass shell), Brutus appeared only at home football and basketball games—never other sports or community events. Brutus was fortunate, however, to go to the 1969 and 1971 Rose Bowls in Pasadena.
In the 1969 Rose Bowl, #1 Ohio State played #2 USC—a championship game before the BCF was invented! Since Dave Hocevar was an upperclassman, the honors went to Dave to portray Brutus and travel with the Block “O” sponsored trip. Tim traveled with an official Ohio State tour. Lucky Tim scored a sideline pass allowing him to be Brutus for one quarter of the game. Carrying his father’s Brownie camera, Tim took a treasured, but now faded, photo of the field through one of Brutus’s eyes.
Brutus’s view of 1969 Rose Bowl.
It wasn’t a given that Brutus would travel to the 1971 Rose Bowl. Tim wrote a letter to either the President of the University or the Athletic Director—memory fades after 50 years. In any event, an answer came from the Athletic Department. Tim would travel with the band and cheerleaders. He would stay in UCLA dorms and receive money for meals. Brutus would travel with the instruments. The big BUT was that Brutus wouldn’t ride on the float because he wasn’t made of flowers and Tim as Brutus wouldn’t walk the five miles of the parade.
T. Brown, Block “O” officer, Brutus.
Need we explain?
As a post-game bonus, the cheerleaders and band were sent on a trip to San Francisco. They were given a tour of the city in the morning, then turned free to sightsee as they pleased. Tim went with some cheerleaders to the Cable Car Museum and Fisherman’s Wharf. Tim says, “It was my first time in San Francisco, so I was like a kid in a candy shop!”
In preparation for the trip, Tim took Brutus home to Dayton for a fresh coat of paint and repairs. Tim said, “People kept stealing the eyebrows.” Dayton Daily News honored their hometown hero. Columnist Roz Young urged readers of Ad Lib to watch the Rose Bowl and, “Look for Tim’s legs and Brutus.” Another issue featured a photo of one of Tim’s pranks—he had a second pair of legs with him under the shell.
A junior in Fall 1969, Tim was fully in the Brutus rotation and by 1970 he recalls being the “main man.” He is featured in the spring 1971 student yearbook MAKIO squatting to the right of the Brutus head (see feature photo at the top of this article).
Director T. Brown on set of Little Shop of Horrors.
Life after Brutus
Graduating in 1971, Tim put his B.S. in Education to immediate use teaching high school theater and radio and television production. He was 7 years at Bishop Hartley in Columbus and 25 at Westerville North High School. His retirement party celebrated the 100 high school shows he directed and produced, the last of which was Barnum. Students from throughout the years came back for the celebration.
Missing contact with people after retirement, Tim embarked on a second career with Trader Joe’s, going on 19 years. He has also served as stage manager for several theaters in the Columbus area.
While Tim no longer has season tickets to OSU football games, he thoroughly enjoyed attending the falderal surrounding Brutus’s 50th birthday celebration in 2015: the Friday night fundraiser gala, Saturday’s Brutus Alumni-only brunch, and being honored at the game. It must have felt terrific to be back on the field again, this time minus the 30 – 40 pounds of shell that turned him into Brutus for three years. And his pants intact.
Modern Brutus shows off his National Title ring.
Michelle Feige, Brutus, Tim Brown at the Brutus Birthday Gala.
Tim and other Brutus alumni at halftime.
Photo credits and permissions: Michelle Feige, Tim Brown, Tim Brown’s clipping of Dayton Daily News, MAKIO 1971
MAKIO 1971 Feature Photo, Block “O” officers: Front row: J. Beedy (vice pres.), R. Boggs (pres.), T. Brown, K. Olmstead (sec.). Row 2: D. Howard, W. Syrkin. Row 3: T. Baginski, D. Dickinson (treas.), D. Kopetz, K. Thomas (sec.), B. Horne, P. Doelker, S. Knodel, J. Clouse.