St. Mary’s basketball coach Dave Brown is the first to admit that when it comes to coaching, he can be intense.
That’s not a bad thing, but one of the many things Brown said he admired about his father-in-law, Pete Pedro, who died at home last weekend at the age of 76, was the way he approached sports and kids.
“He was all about just going out there and having fun. I’m a really intense and competitive person. I think he kind of took the other road. He made me realize that you really need to let kids have fun when they’re playing at a young age and the rest will take care of itself.”
Pedro was a legend in Lynn. He was considered by many to be one of the best athletes to come out of the city. After making his mark on the gridiron at the old Lynn Trade, Pedro went on to play football at Trinidad Junior College in Colorado before heading to West Texas State, now West Texas A&M.
It was in West Texas where Pedro left his mark on college football. Despite his size (5-7, 163 pounds) he was the second-leading rusher in the country his sophomore season (1962). His speed and ability to leave his opponents in the dust earned him the nickname “Pistol.” In his first year at West Texas, he scored 22 touchdowns.
Brown, who married Pedro’s daughter, Helen, in 1998, said from the time he met his future father-in-law his junior year in high school until the time he passed away, he considered him a role model and a friend.
“When I got the head (basketball) coaching job at Winthrop he became my biggest supporter.”
“Out of the 15 years that I’ve been coaching he’s been to a minimum of 90 percent of my game. Road games, home games. He was always my right-hand man. He’s someone spent a lot of time with, going to watch high school football games as well as attending my children’s events.”
Brown said Pedro had 17 grandchildren and went to as many of their games and activities as he could, whether it a game, a recital, gymnastics, or something else.
“His family came first to him. He definitely showed it by the amount of time he put into his grandkids, as well as his own kids,” Brown said. “He never put too much pressure on his kids, or his grandkids, about being athletes. He was about just going out there and having fun. The rest would take care of itself.”
Brown said since Pedro’s passing, he’s gotten so many phone calls and texts from people who knew his father-in-law.
“They had nothing but great things to say about him,” Brown said.
Brown said although his father-in-law was more into football than basketball, the lessons he imparted were universal.
“Make sure your players respect you and you respect them back,” he said.
Brown said he always heard over the years how great a football player Pedro was, but he also discovered he was a great boxer.
“They (people who knew Pedro from the early days) said he had a chance to become a professional boxer if he had chosen to go in that direction.”
The arrangements are being handled by Solimine Funeral Homes.