Coy Browning is the founder of Browning Law Firm in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and has been president of the Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association and All-Sports Association. He earned a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University. Browning is a member of the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame and was a preseason All-American linebacker for the Bucs football team.
One of his favorite memories is of meeting Coach Bobby Bowden at the awards banquet at the Palmetto Touchdown Club when he was named MVP of the football team.
What drew you into the field of criminal justice?
Ever since I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to work in law enforcement and ultimately become an FBI or Secret Service Agent. I was drawn by the excitement, prestige and challenge of being a federal agent. I wanted to serve my country, kick down doors and put bad guys in jail. I could not think of a better career.
What prompted you to go to law school?
After serving Florida for five years as a State Trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol, a law degree would give me a competitive edge in competing for the highly sought after federal law enforcement jobs and better allow for upward mobility. By that point, I had decided I wanted to work for the United States Secret Service as a Special Agent and planned on pursuing that goal upon graduation from law school. However, during law school, I fell in love with the practice of law and decided to open my own law firm upon graduation. It has been one of the best decisions of my life, and I have happily been in private law practice for about 14 years now.
Why do you give back to your community through professional organizations and sports associations?
I spend most of my charitable time and resources on supporting youth sports because I feel that sports are so very important for the development of our young men and women. Not only do athletics teach hard work, discipline, humility and team work, they help keep kids on track, in school, and encourage academic success.
What was it like meeting Bobby Bowden?
Very cool – it’s Bobby Bowden! And, since first meeting Coach Bowden with Dr. Hunter many years ago, I have been fortunate over the years to be around Coach Bowden and hear him speak many times. One thing I have learned is that he is not only a great coach, he is a great family man and a great Christian. As a side note, Coach Bowden’s only daughter is a fellow attorney in my town, and we have become good friends. When my son was born, she surprised me with a Florida State University helmet personalized to my son by Coach Bowden.
In an email to President Jairy Hunter, you said “…your supportive words are appreciated and may last a lifetime.” How has that encouragement impacted you, and how do you in turn hope to impact others?
Since I first stepped on campus, I have always had the utmost respect for Dr. Hunter. When a person you respect encourages and supports you through their words, these words can have a positive ripple effect on your life that last a lifetime. I pray that I have become and continue to be like Dr. Hunter and the other positive role models that have come and gone in my life, and provide support and encouragement through my words and actions that will have a positive ripple effect on their lives for many years.