Jim Brownfield, who achieved prominence as a football and girls' track coach at Pasadena's John Muir High School in the 1980s and '90s, died early Monday. He was 81.
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His brother, Warren, said Brownfield had major heart surgery 14 months ago. He died at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center.
Born Jan. 15, 1929, in Long Beach, Brownfield graduated from Cal State L.A. in 1955.
Brownfield was a teacher and coach for more than 40 years in Southern California. His Muir teams won Southern Section football championships in 1985 and 1986, and won state girls' track titles in 1985 and 1989 and won four Southern Section track titles. He also was the football coach at Loyola University (now Loyola Marymount) in 1969, when the school was named National Club Football Assn. champions.
After retiring in 1996, Brownfield stayed active in coaching organizations, leading the San Gabriel Valley chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in honoring senior football players for their academic and athletic contributions.
Bill Redell, the football coach at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, called Brownfield "one of the greatest coaches" in California prep history. Redell was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001, and credited Brownfield's contributions for leading the drive to his induction.
During much of Brownfield's tenure as girls' track coach at Muir, the Mustangs set a state record with 124 consecutive dual-meet victories from 1983 to 1999. He coached football at Muir in 1965 and '66, again from 1977 to '87 and from 1992 to '96.
Brownfield also coached cross country, tennis and basketball, with stops at Palm Springs and South Pasadena high schools. He was enshrined into the National High School Athletic Coaches Assn. Hall of Fame in 1998.
"He had a way of building men and women off the field," said Donald Lundy, who played football for Brownfield at Muir.
Besides his brother, Brownfield is survived by his daughter, Nancy Marie Patton, as well as two grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
The family is planning a celebration of his life, tentatively set for June 25, at Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.
Jim Brownfield dies at 81; football, girls' track coach at Pasadena's Muir High School
Brownfield led Muir to Southern Section football championships in 1985 and 1986. His teams also won state girls' track titles in 1985 and 1989. He coached football at Loyola University in 1969.
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