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UT President Emeritus Remembers former General Counsel

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Beach Brogan, former General Counsel at UT

KNOXVILLE—Longtime University of Tennessee General Counsel Beauchamp “Beach” E. Brogan died on July 9 in Knoxville at the age of 87.

Brogan was born in Harlan Kentucky, the son of James Brogan and Mary Evans Brogan. He was the twelfth of 15 children and the first to attend and graduate college. That came after four years of service in the U.S. Navy, through which he qualified to attend college with education benefits via the federal G.I. Bill.

Brogan earned a bachelor’s degree from UT Knoxville and a law degree from the University of Kentucky. While a UT undergraduate, he was president of Delta Tau Delta fraternity and of the UT student pep club.

Beach Brogan
He served as head litigator for TVA before joining the University of Tennessee as general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees in 1975. It was in that capacity that UT President Emeritus Joe Johnson began working with Brogan.

“He was a stellar general counsel for UT,” Johnson said. “He was very hard-working, and he brought a great deal of insight into the University and the framework of both federal and state law.

“Beach had a wide-ranging understanding of everything from construction contracts, employment issues, legal matters with respect to student conduct, to any number of other areas of the law to be taken into account in a higher education setting.”

With a laugh, Johnson added, Brogan also was involved in a legendary student prank. Brogan’s son, Jim, a two-time UT graduate and Knoxville financial planning consultant, confirmed that his father “stole the Smokey dog mascot in 1955.”

“It is a fact that my father, while a UK law student, drove down to Knoxville, got Smokey and took him back to Kentucky,” Jim Brogan said. “Having been in the pep club as an undergraduate, he knew where the dog was kept and he was able to do that without generating much attention.”

Days later, the dog was returned to Knoxville by some UK students other than Brogan.

“When he was being considered for the job as UT general counsel and board secretary, he felt he had to tell the trustees about his involvement in the taking of Smokey,” Jim Brogan said, “and Col. Tom Elam, then on the board, said, ‘If he’s that tough, we ought to hire him.’ ”

Brogan remained UT general counsel until his retirement in 1999. Throughout his UT career and afterward, he was an avid Tennessee Vols fan.

In addition to his son, Jim Brogan, he is survived by his wife, Virginia Bird Brogan; and their children John Brogan, Marlene Brogan and Alan Brogan.

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Category: Employees