July 2, 2013

Maine native has NBA rings, wants to take reins

South Portland grad Brett Brown has been mentioned for two head coaching jobs, one of them Boston.

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Brett Brown
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Brett Brown has earned four NBA championship rings as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs. He nearly won a fifth before Miami defeated the Spurs last month.

2010 AP file

Tony Parker, Brett Brown
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San Antonio Spurs’ guard Tony Parker, left, sits with assistant coach Brett Brown during the second half of an NBA basketball game on March 6 in San Antonio.

The Associated Press

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1979 – Led South Portland to 29-0 season and Class A state title

1981 – Named MVP of Boston University basketball team

1983 – Led Terriers to first NCAA tournament appearance since 1959

1987 – Backpacked around the South Pacific, met future wife, settled in Australia, found coaching job

1993 – Hired as head coach of the Melbourne Giants of the National Basketball League

1994 – Named Coach of the Year after leading Melbourne to NBL title

1996 – Assistant coach for Australia in Atlanta Olympics

1998 – Volunteer assistant with San Antonio Spurs

2000 – Assistant coach for Australia in Sydney Olympics

2002 – Rejoined Spurs as director of player development

2006 – Promoted to Spurs bench coach

2009 – Named head coach of Australian National Team

2012 – Coached Australia in London Olympics

"We had an opportunity to go to practice," Gorham said. "Popovich had a lot of great things to say about him."

After leading Boston University to the 1983 NCAA tournament -- the Terriers' first since 1959 -- Brown became a graduate assistant to John Kuester, after Pitino left to become an assistant coach for the Knicks.

In 1984, Brown took a sales job in Boston with AT&T and saved enough money to embark on a backpacking adventure in 1987 to New Zealand, Fiji and Australia.

The trip changed his life. He met the woman who would become his wife (Anna) and mother to their three children (Julia, Lauren and Sam). A cold call to a legendary Australian basketball coach, Lindsay Gaze (father of Andrew Gaze, the former Seton Hall and NBA player who carried the Australian flag at the Sydney Olympics), led to a coaching position, and Brown wound up living in Australia.

He spent four years as an assistant to Gaze and 14 as a head coach in the Australian National Basketball League, earning Coach of the Year honors in 1994, when his Melbourne Giants won the league title.

He spent eight years as an assistant with the Australian National Team, for both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, and became Australia's head coach in 2009 for the London Games last summer.

Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford, who had accepted an invitation to a basketball camp run by Brown and Andrew Gaze, offered Brown an unpaid position in player development for the 1998-99 season, which ended with San Antonio's first NBA title.

The Spurs then hired Brown in 2002 for a specially created position as director of player development. They won titles in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Brown has been a bench coach for the past seven seasons, responsible for scouting one-third of San Antonio's opponents and designing specific game plans, including those against Golden State and Memphis leading up to the recent finals.

"I don't know what else you could do to improve his resume," Gorham said. "The NBA is a world game now, so you've got to know the international game. He's done all facets of the program, from player development to scouting to bench coach. It's time for him to be a head coach."

As a native Mainer, Gorham said, he would love to see Brown land the Celtics' job, but only if "he feels it's the right thing for him."

In the right situation, with patient and committed ownership, Pitino said, he thinks Brown will thrive.

"I think he's got the full body of work," Pitino said. "Now it's a matter of being patient."


Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:


Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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Additional Photos

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This 1983 photo was taken after Boston University defeated Holy Cross, 63-62, in the ECAC North title game to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1959.

Photo courtesy Boston University


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