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Hubie Brown

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Hubie Brown
Brown in 1981
Personal information
Born (1933-09-25) September 25, 1933 (age 90)
Hazleton, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Listed weight160 lb (73 kg)
Career information
High schoolSt. Mary (Elizabeth, New Jersey)
CollegeNiagara (1951–1955)
NBA draft1955: undrafted
Playing career1958–1959
Coaching career1955–1987, 2002–2004
Career history
As player:
1958–1959Rochester Colonels
As coach:
1955–1956St. Mary Academy
196?–196?Cranford HS
196?–1967Fair Lawn HS
1967–1968William & Mary (assistant)
1968–1972Duke (assistant)
19721974Milwaukee Bucks (assistant)
1974–1976Kentucky Colonels
19761981Atlanta Hawks
19821987New York Knicks
20022004Memphis Grizzlies
Career highlights and awards
Career coaching record
ABA & NBA528–559 (.486)
Basketball Hall of Fame
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Hubert "Hubie" Jude Brown (born September 25, 1933)[1] is an American retired basketball coach and player and active television analyst. Brown is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, the honors separated by 26 years.[2] Brown was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.

Early life[edit]

Hubert Jude Brown was born on September 25, 1933, in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Brown moved to Elizabeth, New Jersey at age three and was raised there, living in a small apartment building without a telephone.[3] Brown, an only child, has said that his father, Charlie, who worked at the shipyards, was a "demanding man."[3]

He graduated from St. Mary of the Assumption High School in 1951. While he was in high school, St. Mary won state championships in football, basketball and baseball.[4]

College career[edit]

Brown played college basketball and baseball at Niagara University, graduating in 1955 with a degree in education. While at Niagara, Brown was a teammate (and roommate) of former Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden, as well as Larry Costello and Charlie Hoxie, who would go on to star for the Harlem Globetrotters.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Rochester Colonels (1958–1959)[edit]

After leaving Niagara, Brown joined the U.S. Army where he joined the Army's basketball team.[5] After being honorably discharged in 1958, Brown briefly played for the Rochester Colonels of the Eastern Professional Basketball League (the forerunner to the Continental Basketball Association) before they folded after just eight games. He averaged 13.8 points per game in his brief stint as a pro and was an excellent defender as a player.

Brown also returned to Niagara to earn a master's degree in education as he looked to pursue a coaching career.[5]

Coaching career[edit]

St. Mary Academy (1955–1956)[edit]

Brown's defensive mentality would carry on into his coaching career, which began in 1955 at St. Mary Academy in Little Falls,[6] New York where he coached both basketball and baseball.

Cranford High School (196?–196?)[edit]

Brown coached at Cranford High School in Cranford, New Jersey in the 1960s.[7]

Fair Lawn High School (196?–1967)[edit]

Brown coached at Fair Lawn High School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey until 1967.[8] He was replaced in that role before the start of the 1967 season by Bob Gottlieb.[9]

William & Mary (1967–1968)[edit]

Brown became an assistant coach for one season at the College of William & Mary from 1967 to 1968.[10]

Duke (1968–1972)[edit]

The following season, Brown joined Duke University as an assistant coach.[11] Brown coached the Duke Blue Devils until 1972.[12]

Milwaukee Bucks (1972–1974)[edit]

Brown joined the NBA as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks in 1972 under Larry Costello.[13] Milwaukee made the NBA Finals in 1974 with future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, but fell in seven games to the Boston Celtics, who were led by their own superstars: Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Jo Jo White and future Bucks coach Don Nelson.[14]

Kentucky Colonels (1974–1976)[edit]

After two seasons in the NBA, Brown was given his first professional head coaching opportunity with the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association. Brown led the Colonels to the 1975 ABA Championship. Brown continued as the Colonels' coach until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 when the Colonels franchise folded, one of two ABA teams that did not join the NBA (the Spirits of St. Louis being the other).[15]

Atlanta Hawks (1976–1981)[edit]

Brown then rejoined the NBA as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, going 31–51 in his first season with the Hawks. But by the 1977–78 season, the Hawks had rebounded into a .500 team, finishing 41–41 and earning Coach of the Year honors for Brown. Two years later, in 1979–80, they won only their second division title since moving to Atlanta. However, after they tumbled to a 31-win season in 1980–81, Brown was fired with just three games remaining in the season.[16]

New York Knicks (1982–1987)[edit]

Brown joined the New York Knicks in 1982, succeeding long-time coach Red Holzman. He stayed with the Knicks until he was fired in 1986 after starting the season 4–12. After reaching the playoffs in each of Brown's first two seasons, the Knicks plummeted to 24–58 in 1984–85 and 23–59 in 1985–86.[17] But there were circumstances that were far beyond Brown's control that hastened the downfall. Star forward Bernard King suffered a devastating knee injury in March 1985 in a game against the Kansas City Kings,[18] not fully recovering for two seasons, while Patrick Ewing, the top overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft, missed 32 games in an injury-plagued rookie season. Brown left the Knicks at the beginning of the 1986–87 season, succeeded by Bob Hill.[19]

Memphis Grizzlies (2002–2004)[edit]

Sixteen years removed from his previous NBA coaching job, Brown was again tapped to be a head coach in the NBA 2002–03 season by Jerry West of the Memphis Grizzlies, who fired coach Sidney Lowe after an 0–8 start. The Grizzlies' choice of Brown was quite controversial at the time; Hubie Brown was the oldest coach in the NBA at the age of 69.[20]

Brown finished the season with a 28–46 record with the team, at the time the team's record for wins. However, the team underwent a complete turnaround for the 2003–04 season, finishing 50–32 and making the playoffs for the first time in team history.[17] Brown was again named the NBA's Coach of the Year.

However, by the 2004–05 season, there were again concerns about Brown's health and age. Brown was given medical clearance to start the season, but was forced to delegate much work to his assistant coaches, including his son, Brendan Brown. This led to an incident between Brendan Brown and Jason Williams when Williams snapped at Brown during the fourth quarter of a game early on in the season.[21] Williams eventually apologized, but the Grizzlies were beginning to struggle during the season, starting 5–7.[17]

Brown then unexpectedly resigned from the Grizzlies on Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2004. In a statement, he cited "unexpected health-related issues... [that were] absolutely nonexistent at the beginning of the season." Details of the specific "health-related issues" were not announced. Shortly afterward Mike Fratello was announced as the new Grizzlies coach, marking the second time in his career that he had succeeded Brown in an NBA head coaching position.[22]

Soon after Brown's unexpected departure, it was reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis The Commercial Appeal that a combination of negative attitudes among James Posey, Jason Williams, and Bonzi Wells led to his leaving. Brown coached his team with a 10-man rotation, which meant that players got smaller amounts of playing time.[23]

Broadcasting career[edit]

Brown began broadcasting after being fired by the Hawks, working for USA Network's coverage of the NBA, including playoff games as well as CBS before being hired by the Knicks.[24] During the 1985 NBA playoffs, Brown lent his services to CBS once again while still coaching the Knicks, who were not in the playoffs, teaming up with Brent Musburger.[25] Following his dismissal from the Knicks, CBS hired Brown full-time as a broadcaster in December 1986,[26] and served alongside Verne Lundquist as the third team during select regular season and playoff games, promoted to the second team the next season. When asked in 1988 how long he would remain involved with the game of basketball, Brown responded "I will stay involved in some capacity until the day Verne Lundquist dies." In 1988, CBS named Brown to replace Billy Cunningham as its lead analyst alongside play-by-play man Dick Stockton. Brown remained with CBS until the end of their NBA coverage following the 1990 NBA Finals, then worked on the local broadcasts for the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons before joining TNT in the early 1990s. Brown continued anchoring TNT's basketball coverage through the 2001–02 season, in which he was paired with announcers such as Bob Neal, Ron Thulin, Pete Van Wieren, and his old CBS partners Verne Lundquist and Dick Stockton.

Shortly after his departure from the Grizzlies, Brown signed with ABC as their top NBA analyst. Brown worked with Al Michaels and Mike Breen on some regular-season and playoff games, including the 2005 NBA Finals and 2006 NBA Finals, before he was replaced as lead analyst by Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. Brown has later worked alongside Mike Tirico (until 2016), Mark Jones and Dave Pasch (both currently) on ABC and ESPN.

Brown was nominated for a Sports Emmy in 1994 and 1999.[27]

Halls of Fame[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Brown and his wife Claire have three daughters - Molly, Virginia, and Julie; and a son Brendan who is a former NBA scout and assistant coach who has worked for the New York Knicks as a radio analyst.[30] Brown also has four grandchildren.

Head coaching record[edit]

ABA and NBA[edit]

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Kentucky 1974–75 84 58 26 .690 1st in Eastern 15 12 3 .800 Won ABA Finals
Kentucky 1975–76 84 46 38 .548 4th in ABA 10 5 5 .500 Lost in Semifinals
Atlanta 1976–77 82 31 51 .378 6th in Central Missed Playoffs
Atlanta 1977–78 82 41 41 .500 4th in Central 2 0 2 .000 Lost in First Round
Atlanta 1978–79 82 46 36 .561 3rd in Central 9 5 4 .556 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Atlanta 1979–80 82 50 32 .610 1st in Central 5 1 4 .200 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
Atlanta 1980–81 79 31 48 .392 (fired)
New York 1982–83 82 44 38 .537 4th in Atlantic 6 2 4 .333 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
New York 1983–84 82 47 35 .573 3rd in Atlantic 12 6 6 .500 Lost in Conf. Semifinals
New York 1984–85 82 24 58 .293 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
New York 1985–86 82 23 59 .280 5th in Atlantic Missed Playoffs
New York 1986–87 16 4 12 .250 (fired)
Memphis 2002–03 74 28 46 .378 6th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
Memphis 2003–04 82 50 32 .610 4th in Midwest 4 0 4 .000 Lost in First Round
Memphis 2004–05 12 5 7 .417 (resigned)
Career 1087 528 559 .486 63 31 32 .492


  1. ^ "Hubert "Hubie" Brown". hoophall.com. NAISMITH MEMORIAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  2. ^ "New York's Tom Thibodeau wins 2020–21 NBA Coach of the Year award". nba.com. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Oney, Steve (2 March 2015). ""It's Okay If You're A Machine": Inside Hubie Brown's Brutal Philosophy". deadspin.com. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Collected Wisdom: Hubie Brown, NBA broadcaster and former coach". newsok.com. 18 April 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  5. ^ a b Newman, Bruce (October 31, 1983). "The Gospel According To Hubie". SI.com. Sports Illustrated.
  6. ^ Bracht, Mel (April 8, 2015). "Collected Wisdom: Hubie Brown, NBA broadcaster and former coach". The Oklahoman. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  7. ^ Higgins, Jim (25 August 2015). "Hall door closed for a legend". timesargus.com. Brunswick Publishing, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  8. ^ Winderman, Ira (2 November 1989). "HUBIE BROWN: THE CLONE PRINCE OF NBA COACHES". sun-sentinel.com. Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  9. ^ Veleber, Don (9 November 1967). "Gridders Have High Values". Ridgewood Herald-News. p. 33. Retrieved 8 March 2024.
  10. ^ Vivlamore, Chris. "Former Hawks coach Brown recipient of Daly Lifetime Achievement Award". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  11. ^ King, JD (6 June 2017). "Former Duke Assistant Hubie Brown Honored". dukebasketballreport.com. Vox Media, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  12. ^ "Longtime friends Vitale, Brown to call first game together". USAToday.com. Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  13. ^ "Brown Named Bucks' Aide". The New York Times. 13 May 1972. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  14. ^ "1974 NBA Finals Celtics vs. Bucks". basketball-reference.com. Sports-Reference, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  15. ^ Story, Mark. "On its 45th anniversary, Dan Issel relives 'the highlight of my basketball career'". Kentucky.com. Lexington Herald Ledger. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  16. ^ "Members of the Atlanta Hawks said Thursday they were..." UPI.com. UPI Archives. March 27, 1981.
  17. ^ a b c "Hubie Brown". basketball-reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  18. ^ Zillgitt, Jeff. "Bernard King: Knee injury defined Hall of Fame career". USAToday.com. Gannett Satellite Information Network, LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  19. ^ Johnson, Roy S. (December 2, 1986). "KNICKS, 4–12 AND GOING NOWHERE, DISMISS BROWN". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Williams, Lena (13 November 2002). "PRO BASKETBALL; Grizzlies Go Back to School: Hubie Brown Named Coach". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  21. ^ "Brown cites medical issues for retiring". ESPN.com. ESPN, Inc. 26 November 2004. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  22. ^ "Brown retires; Fratello reportedly will coach Grizzlies". USA Today. 25 November 2004. Retrieved 1 December 2014.
  23. ^ "Williams, Posey, Wells: Banned from Memphis". ESPN.com. ESPN, Inc. 8 August 2005. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  24. ^ "Hubie Brown". si.com. ABG-SI LLC. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  25. ^ Eskenazi, Gerald (23 April 1985). "TV SPORTS; BROWN: A COMMENTATOR WOTH 'OPTIONS'". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  26. ^ Deitsch, Richard. "Media Circus: An NBA Broadcasting Guide, and how Hubie Brown keeps going strong at 85". TheAthletic.com. The Athletic. Retrieved 27 August 2021.
  27. ^ "NBA.com: Hubie Brown Coach Info". www.nba.com. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  28. ^ "The Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame: Hubie Brown". hoophall.com. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  29. ^ Brown, Kirkpatrick, MacMullen, and Scott voted into the NSMA HOF – NSMA
  30. ^ "Memphis Grizzlies Basketball Operations" (PDF). NBA.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 28, 2011.

External links[edit]