PHILADELPHIA — The losses keep mounting, the ridicule piles up, yet Maine native Brett Brown stays true to the course.

The Philadelphia 76ers coach said he has the utmost faith in his staff and the front office, despite the team’s 2-23 start. No amount of outside “noise,” as he calls it, can get in the way of a radical rebuilding plan.

“We’re on a path to build something that has the ability to have annual success,” Brown said of the NBA’s youngest team – one on a pace for the worst record in league history.

But down in Charlotte, where Steve Clifford guided the Bobcats to a playoff spot last season, expectations are higher.

Clifford, also a Maine native, placed fourth in Coach of the Year voting last season but has seen his team (since renamed the Hornets) stagger to a 7-19 start this year. Already, there are rumors that his job may be in jeopardy.

“We’re in a different situation than Brett is,” said Clifford, who was born in Lincoln and played four years at UMaine- Farmington. “They don’t have expectations. They have a plan they’re implementing.”

The two men, each in his second season as an NBA head coach, met Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center. The Hornets snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Sixers, 109-91.

They spent about five minutes before the game catching up with each other. Despite all the losses, they realize how fortunate they are.

“The NBA and Maine don’t go in the same sentence very often,” said the 53-year-old Brown, a native of South Portland who starred in high school for the Red Riots and won a Class A state title in 1979.

“My background is modest. I’m the son of two schoolteachers, really. One happened to be a coach. When you grow up in a very humble environment and reflect back now on your basketball life … you don’t have any complaints.”

Like Clifford, Brown never played in the NBA. He served as a head coach in Australia and as an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs until he landed the job as the Sixers’ head coach. Philadelphia was 19-63 last year, including a record-tying, 26-game losing streak. This season, the team lost its first 17 games and has yet to win at home.

“You wake up each day – as hard as it is at times because of the record – and walk back in the gym and see 20-year-olds who need answers and need to be coached and need support. You get a sense of responsibility that moves you forward.

“Our report card is always ‘did you win or did you lose?’ But I don’t see it like that. I’m proud of the day-to-day efforts that have helped us build a culture.”

Clifford understands, even though the losing has taken its toll on a team many thought would build off its success from last season. There are reasons for that, such as some poor personnel decisions – like the free-agent signing of underperforming Lance Stephenson – and the inability to close out games when the Hornets have the lead.

“Obviously we’re trying to find the identity we had last year,” said Clifford, 53. “We were a very good defensive team who ended up fourth in the league in team defense. This year we’re 22nd.”

“But I know we’re still working hard and the attitude has been fine. If we can play better, we still have a chance.”

Al Jefferson, in his 11th NBA season, is confident the Hornets can salvage their season. Last year, Charlotte was 19-27 near midseason before rallying to finish 43-39 games and make the playoffs.

“We’re all at fault,” Jefferson said of the Hornets’ slow start. “The coaching staff can only do so much.

“Steve, for a guy who never played in the NBA, understands what we’re going through. He talks to us like men and holds us accountable. He motivates you. He’s the type of guy you want to fight for.”

Brown and the 76ers are not at a point where they will contend for a playoff spot yet. The future, however, looks brighter. By trading veterans, Philadelphia has stockpiled six picks in the 2015 draft.

Still, the pain of losing now is not easy – especially in a demanding sports city like Philadelphia.

The day after a recent overtime loss to Memphis – a game in which the Sixers blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter – Brown got a sympathetic text from his father, Bob, a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

“When you speak with your dad about going through some losing times, then get a text and read the words, it grounds you,” Brett Brown said. “He said ‘Tough loss. New day tomorrow. Get going. Learn from it.’

“He repeats things that I already know but are great to be reminded of. When times are tough you’re reminded you knew they would be tough.

“The reason I took the job was it’s just an incredible opportunity that doesn’t come along often in pro sports – and maybe in life in general – a chance to put your imprint on a program in a culture in such an amazing city like Philadelphia.

“But at times it might be harder than you originally expected.”

Clifford hears from Bob Brown, too. Clifford served as an assistant coach under Brown at both at St. Anselm in New Hampshire and at Boston University. He even lived in the Brown home for a spell.

“He’s always a mentor to me, Clifford said. “He gives good advice.

“I know how difficult it is for Brett, because he’s so competitive. But he understands the big picture of what they’re trying to do.

“I’ve been coaching in this league 15 years (the first 13 as an assistant with the Lakers, Rockets, Magic and Knicks). You have to spend your time thinking about your team.”

Added Brown, whose team embarks on an eight-game road trip starting Sunday: “None of us can flinch.”