JANICE “JAN” BROWN Connecticut
Despite not having team sport opportunities available to her as a young girl growing up in Norwalk, Connecticut, Jan Brown has dedicated the last two decades of her life not only to actively participating as a team sport athlete but also to creating opportunities for other women to share those experiences.
Jan’s journey as a sport advocate began in 2001 when she was appointed as the state coordinator of women’s 50-and-over softball by the Connecticut Sports Management Group. In 2003, she organized a 30-and-over women’s full-court drop-in pickup basketball league. Through these roles that she still holds today, she has created opportunities for countless women to discover sport for the first time or to extend their love for active sport participation into their later years.
Since her retirement in 2011, Jan has expanded her advocacy beyond softball and basketball. After discovering pickleball through a drop-in program at a local rec center, she was hooked and began teaching free pickleball lessons to beginners in her community. Since 2017, she has served as the USA Pickleball Ambassador for Newtown, Connecticut. To support growing community interest in the sport, she raises funds and advocates for community funding to repair existing courts and to build new pickleball courts.
In recognition of her success as a National Senior Games medalist and her contributions to the creation and facilitation of sport opportunities for others in her community, she was named the 2012 Connecticut Master’s Athlete of the Year by the Connecticut Sports Management Group, and the 2021 Sportsperson of the Year by the Newtown Bee. These awards are a testament to her ongoing dedication and impact on the community; however, Jan’s goal is not fame or recognition, but to continue to be a role model and inspiration for girls and women of all ages who otherwise may not have had the opportunity or confidence to participate in sports.
In her 23 years of service to women’s sport, Jan Brown has never charged a cent for the work she does to create sport opportunities for others. The reward, she explains, exists in the friendships, the shared experience, and the fulfillment that comes through sharing in the growth, success, and joy of others. Through her selfless dedication and passion, Jan continues to inspire others to break through perceived age-related barriers and to enjoy the many benefits associated with extending sport participation across the lifespan.