There aren’t many fathers who can say their son is a National Basketball Association head coach, but now, the town of Scarborough is home to one.
One very well known in these parts as a Hall of Fame coach in his own right.
And one who, understandably, is extremely proud.
Bob Brown, now enjoying retirement in Scarborough after a five decade-plus coaching career which culminated with a dazzling run at Cheverus High School and his induction into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame (among several others), had trouble at times coming up with words to describe his happiness over the news earlier this week that the Philadelphia 76ers had hired his son, Brett, as their new head coach.
“It’s difficult to even explain,” Brown said. “When (my wife, Bonny, and I) come down to Earth, we’ll be very proud that he’s achieved what he’s achieved. It’s a great example of someone from Maine who wants to get to the highest level doing things to the best of his ability all the time and if you that, good things will happen.”
Father (coach) and son (star player) accomplished great things together back in the late 1970s, when they helped produce one of the most storied and successful teams in Maine high school history, the South Portland Red Riots, who beat Presque Isle, 102-58, in the 1979 Class A Final, capping a perfect season.
Brett Brown went on to play at Boston University (for a soon-to-be-legendary-coach named Rick Pitino, who added Bob Brown to his staff as an assistant), spent over a decade coaching in Australia and most recently was an assistant coach for the championship winning San Antonio Spurs of the NBA (who just missed out on another ring in June). He also coached the Australian Olympic team in London in 2012.
After first being rumored as the 76ers coach last month (and even being mentioned as a possibility as Doc Rivers’ successor in Boston before Butler University’s Brad Stevens was hired), Brown got the nod with a reported four-year, guaranteed contract.
“Brett really wanted to be a head coach again after the Olympics,” Bob Brown said. “I think this is a good opportunity for him.”
Brown said that he consulted with his son prior to Brett taking the 76ers job, but that he didn’t have much advice.
“We talked a lot, but I’d say I did more listening,” Brown said. “I tried not to know any of the answers. My experience is high school and college, which is so different from the pros. Dealing with men is so much different than dealing with boys or young men. Its apples and oranges. I just wanted him to make sure it’s right. I think the key was the four-year guaranteed contract. They have a lot of rebuilding to do (finishing 34-48 and out of the playoffs last season) and it takes time.”
Bob Brown said that the road his son has traveled would have been hard to imagine three decades ago.
“When Brett was growing up in the late 70s, not many schools had a non-teacher coaching sports,” Brown said. “That was my world. He hopped on at BU. He’s one of the lucky people who is fortunate to be in a profession he’s passionate about and loves.
“He played for Pitino, an all-time great. He was with the guru of Australian basketball, Lindsay Gaze. Then, he was in San Antonio with (Gregg) Popovich, who’s probably regarded as the best coach in the NBA. I think the Spurs and the Olympic experience have really prepared him. He’s been in the right place at the right time. He knows what has to be done and how to go about it. He has the knowledge. He’ll be the first one in and the last one out and he’ll give it all he’s got.”
The best news for Brown and his family is that instead of having to travel to Texas to watch Brett Brown coach, he’s now just a drive away.
“Now we can go down, see games and come home,” Bob Brown said. “We don’t have to stay for a month. That part will be fun.”
Brett Brown once led the South Portland boys’ basketball team to glory. He’s coached in college, Australia and as an NBA assistant. He’s now the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Bob Brown prowled the sidelines for decades and has been inducted in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, but he never coached at the ultimate level, something his son, Brett, accomplished earlier this week when he was hired by the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association.