As Brett Brown continues to lead the Sixers through their rebuild, here are five things you may not have known about the Sixers’ head coach.
One of the few bright spots for the Philadelphia 76ers this past season (The Great Tank) as well as the current season (Tank 2.0) has been the outstanding coaching job being done by head coach Brett Brown.
Brown has managed to keep his young team together and playing hard, despite one frustrating loss after another. He has also performed admirably as a teacher and mentor, developing NBA Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams as well as Tony Wroten, Nerlens Noel, and Robert Covington among others. In addition, Brown handled all the numerous challenges he and the team have faced with dignity and a great deal of class.
We thought it might be nice for Sixers fans to learn a little more about this very talented coach. So with that in mind, here are “Five Things You Really Should Know About Brett Brown”.
1. The Coach Was Coached Well
A native of Maine, Brown played at South Portland High School for his father, the legendary Bob Brown, who is now a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. (In 2013, Brett was also inducted there.)
The younger Brown went on to attend Boston University where he played under the superb coaching of Rick Pitino. There Brown was named team MVP his sophomore year and served as team captain his final two seasons, helping the Terriers reach the NCAA Tournament in 1983.
2. Maybe We Should Call Brown the Real “Kangaroo Kid”
Brett Brown developed his coaching chops in the “land down under”. In 1987 while visiting Australia, he made a cold call on Melbourne Tigers head coach Lindsay Gaze. This ultimately led to a job offer, as well as Brown making Australia his home. It was there that Brown had an excellent coaching career and was named NBL Coach of the Year in 1993. It was also in Australia that he met his wife, Anne.
In March of 2009, Brown was named head coach of the Australian National Team. He led Australia to the FIBA Oceania Championship over rival New Zealand in 2011 and secured a bid to the 2012 Olympics.
At the London games in 2012, Brown guided Australia to what many consider their best Olympic run ever, culminating with a win over eventual bronze medal winner Russia before being eliminated by Team USA in the quarterfinals. And Brown accomplished all this success minus the services of his star player, Andrew Bogut.
3. He Has An Excellent Pedigree
Brown was hired by the San Antonio Spurs in 1998 as an unpaid member of their basketball operations department. He ended up being part of the Spurs organization for four of their championship seasons (1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007).
In the summer of 2013, Brown faced a difficult choice: take Mike Budenholzer’s spot as the lead assistant to renown Spurs coach Gregg Popovich or take the head coaching position with the Sixers on what was sure to be a very challenging time of rebuilding. To our great good fortune, Brown chose the latter.
4. Brett Brown – Big Bang Baller
Brown currently serves as a Global Ambassador for the Big Bang Ballers. Despite their unusual name, this organization does great work. They describe themselves as “an international not for profit which uses the game of basketball to fight youth poverty and social disadvantage worldwide.”
5. Most importantly, Brett Brown Actually Gets Philly
Over the years we have seen many athletes and coaches who have spent time in Philadelphia, but who simply didn’t connect with the fan base or media. In contrast, Brett Brown really understands what makes us tick – and he actually likes it!
In an interview with Grantland.com’s Zach Lowe in January 2014, Brown said
“I grew up in New England, and spent so much time in Boston, I’m acutely aware of the sporting pulse of a city like Philadelphia. And I love it. I love being back on this side of the country.”
Here, and in numerous other interviews, Brown has shown something very rare – he really understands the high expectations we have for our sports teams; we expect them to work hard every night, to hustle, and ultimately to win. And unlike so many other players and coaches that have gone before him, he is not intimidated by that. In fact, he shares that same passion.
If you watched Brett Brown over this past year and a half, you know that he is a coach with a winning background, a brilliant basketball mind, and excellent leadership and teaching skills. If there are any reasons for the Sixers Nation to have hope for the future, head coach Brett Brown stands foremost among them.