Grant and contract specialist Derek Brown, with
co-Coug fan Bumpus. (Photo courtesy of Cindy
Ask WSU staffer Derek Brown about one of his finest accomplishments and he’ll probably tell you it was when he was named the first ever Junior Cougar VIP at the WSU vs. Fresno State football game in 1991.
Decked out in full Coug gear, which included a gray shirt and crimson ball cap, Brown went out onto the field pregame that day to see Drew Bledsoe, Jason Hanson and others practice. He was also an inaugural member of the Junior Cougar Club. He is a Lifetime WSU Alumni Association member and season ticket holder for football and basketball.
To top it all off, in August 2008 he received the WSU Crimson Spirit Award.
A full-time grant and contract specialist at the Office of Grant and Research Development (OGRD) since September 2006, Brown is a third-generation Coug, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father. When he was very young, his parents divorced and he moved to California with his mother. Brown’s father wanted to make sure his son never lost his Cougness, a trait they shared, so he mailed Derek care packages filled with WSU memorabilia including game programs. Brown deeply loved these special gifts and says they fueled his adoration for his father and the Cougs.
Brown graduated from WSU in 2003 with a degree in criminal justice and started his WSU career shortly thereafter. In August 2005, he was hired as a time-slip employee at the WSU Creamery where he worked customer service, taking orders for Cougar Gold and other products. From there he moved on to a job as an office assistant at OGRD and then to his current position.
“I love my job,” he says, “mostly because it’s technology-driven, and I meet people from departments all over campus.”
Similar to his customer service days, Brown has accumulated a handful of “regulars.” One of Brown’s closest friends says, “Derek is the quintessential Coug. He loves WSU more than anyone I know. It makes perfect sense that he works here.”
On a typical day, he processes all of the paperwork — regular mail, e-mail, faxes, etc. — for grants or contracts that come in or go out of his office. He maintains the OGRD Gateway database and its new electronic REX form approval process, which is making universitywide grant proposal submissions faster and easier.
Brown works on custom WSU proposal and award/grant reports alongside director Dan Nordquist and manager Brenda Griffin.
“It’s surprising the number of requests for information we receive,” Brown says. “We locate the information and present it back to the clients. Requests come all the way from the President’s Office to a student asking about a specific subject.”
If anyone remains skeptical about Brown’s dedication to WSU, he or she only needs to meet his pug, Bumpus, who often wears a WSU jersey. The dog was named after Michael Bumpus, ex-WSU football star.
But Bumpus is special for another reason. Brown got the dog in May 2007, the weekend after his father passed away from liver failure, and Bumpus has helped Brown through tough times.
“Bumpus definitely shares my passion for WSU athletics. We watch the away games together, and he seems to know when the Cougs win or lose. I am trying to figure out how to sneak him into Martin Stadium for an Apple Cup.”