After graduating from Mendota High School in 1957 and completing a college education, Bill "Boom Boom" Brown went on to play professional football. He still holds records from his playing years at Minnesota for the Minnesota Vikings. He played 182 games as a running back, with 101 being consecutive games. He started in 111 games. His  career yards rushing equaled  5,757yards,  9,237 combined yards rushing and receiving and 52 rushing touchdowns. He played in four Pro Bowls: 1964, 1965, 1967 and 1968.  Although originally drafted in the second round by Chicago in 1961, he was traded to Minnesota in 1962. He held the record for most combined 1,000 yard season games 1963-66.

As a collegian, he was an All-Big 10 fullback as well as winning the Big 10 shot put title with a school record toss of  54 feet 10.5 inches.

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