Hubert Jude "Hubie" Brown
(born September 25, 1933 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, USA) is a former basketball coach and a current television analyst.
Brown is a two-time
NBA Coach of the Year, the honors being separated by 26 years.
in the Basketball
Hall of Fame.
Early life and career
to Elizabeth, New
Jersey at the age of 3 and was raised there, graduating
from St. Mary of the Assumption High
School in 1951.
Brown played college basketball
University, graduating in 1955 with a degree in
After leaving Niagara, Brown joined the U.S. Army
where he joined the Army's
basketball team. After being honorably discharged in 1958, Brown
briefly played for the Rochester
of the Eastern Professional Basketball League (the
forerunner to the Continental Basketball
) 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.
While at Niagara, Brown was a teammate (and roommate) of former
coach Frank Layden
defensive mentality would carry on into his coaching career, which
began in 1955 at St. Mary Academy in Little
Falls, New York where he coached both basketball and
baseball. He spent nine years at the high school level,
including Cranford High
School in Cranford, New Jersey and Fair Lawn High School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey before becoming an assistant coach for one season
at the College of William and Mary in 1968. The following season, Brown joined Duke
University as an
Brown coached at Duke until 1972
when he joined the NBA
as an assistant coach
for the Milwaukee Bucks
. 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
, Jo Jo White
and future Bucks coach Don Nelson
After two seasons in the NBA, Brown was given his first
professional-level head coaching opportunity – the head coach
position with the Kentucky
of the American Basketball
. 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.
being the other).
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
, the Hawks had rebounded into a .500 team, finishing
41-41 and earning Coach of
honors for Brown.
New York Knicks
Brown continued to coach the Hawks, leading them to a Central
Division Title in the 1979-80
, before joining the New York
long-time coach Red Holtzman
. 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
. But there were circumstances
that were far beyond Brown's control that hastened the downfall.
Star forward Bernard King
devastating knee injury in March 1985 in a game against the
Kansas City Kings
, not fully
recovering for two seasons, while Patrick
, 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
succeeded by Bob Hill
During the 2002-03 season
was again tapped to be a head coach in the NBA, this time by
with the Memphis Grizzlies
, who fired coach
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.
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
, finishing 50-32 and making the playoffs
for the first time in team
history. 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
Williams snapped at Brown during the fourth quarter of a game early
on in the season. Williams eventually apologized, but the Grizzlies
were beginning to struggle during the season, starting 5-7.
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
announced as the new Grizzlies coach, marking the second time in
his career that he had succeeded Brown at an NBA head coaching
Soon after Brown's unexpected departure, it was reported by Ronald
Tillery of The Commercial
(Memphis' main newspaper) 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. This reportedly upset the three
players who felt cheated for not getting more time.
Brown then turned back to the broadcasting booth. He had been the
lead basketball analyst for CBS
with play-by-play man Dick Stockton
. Brown remained with CBS
until the end of their NBA coverage following the 1990 NBA Finals
. He worked on the local
broadcasts for the Philadelphia
and the Detroit Pistons
before joining TNT
in the early 1990s.
Brown continued anchoring TNT's basketball coverage through the
On December 7, Brown signed with ABC
their top NBA analyst, originally working alongside Al Michaels
(until his departure to NBC) and,
subsequently, Mike Breen
regular-season and playoff games, including the 2005 NBA Finals
and 2006 NBA Finals
. He currently does work as
an analyst, along with Mike Tirico
games on ESPN and ABC.
Hall of Fame
Brown was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor.