Obrey Brown came to Redlands in 1979.
His journey started during his Bay Area days – born in Alameda, California in 1955 – and into his college years at Fresno State, until arriving to work at the Redlands Daily Facts in May 1979.
The son of Neal and Cindy Brown, Obrey attended school in Hayward, California, graduating from Mt. Eden High in June 1973.
Attending Chabot Community College from 1973 to 1976, Obrey came in contact with Jeff Lane, among others, a budding sports writing journalist from nearby San Lorenzo.
It was that connection with Jeff that eventually led Obrey into a journalistic career that began in that Southern California community of Redlands.
When Jeff left as Sports Editor of the Daily Facts in 1981, Obrey was named as his replacement. For the next two decades, Obrey wrote a weekly column, covered thousands of games at both the high school and collegiate level, occasionally venturing into professional events, including NASCAR, drag racing, golf, and other major sports.
In 2002, Obrey left the Daily Facts to pursue other interests. He began writing for weekly newspapers in Highland, Yucaipa and Banning.
In 2005, he began working as a correspondent for the Riverside Press Enterprise. Eventually, his writing appeared in the San Bernardino Sun, Orange County Register and the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.
In 2006, he published his first book, A Citrus Test: Football in Black and White, a novel about a fictional city in Southern California and the intrigue of high school football – for both the players and the community surrounding them.
His connection with sports definitely began with his dad. Neal took him to games at Candlestick Park, Kezar Stadium, San Francisco’s Civic Center, plus the Oakland Coliseum. His parents were subscribers to the Oakland Tribune, which was Obrey’s first connection to journalism.
“I got the paper every day,” Obrey often says, “and turned right to the sports section.”
Obrey played sports – football, basketball, baseball, and golf – hoping to someday turn that into a professional career. It might have seemed hopeless. His dad noticed the longshot nature of his dreams.
It was Neal who suggested, while the two were watching Pete Maravich’s NBA debut in 1970, “You know, you really ought to try a career in sports writing.”
With his love for both newspapers and sports, a career path was starting to form.
That did it for Obrey, who continued to play sports, but turned his eye to writing. As he said for years, “Writing was all I could do in school – and I couldn’t even do it that well. I had a lot to learn.”
Photo credit: Chet Brown