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HCC athletic director ponders future plans

April 08, 2002|BY BOB PARASILITI

bobp@herald-mail.com

The changing of the guard may be continuing at Hagerstown Community College.

On the heels of the retirement roast of outgoing school president Norman P. Shea, HCC has scheduled a Tuesday press conference to announce the future plans and possible retirement of athletic director and men's basketball coach Jim Brown, according to an athletic department source.

According to the source, Brown will announce whether he will leave his two posts at the end of the current year or the 2002-03 school year. Brown just completed his 23rd season on the HCC bench and 17th year as the school's athletic director.

Brown's announcement and/or retirement could spark the beginning of many changes at HCC while ending the Hawks' most successful era.

"The impact of Jim's retirement would be huge," said Shea, who worked with Brown during his entire tenure at HCC. "We probably have the most comprehensive junior college program on the Eastern Seaboard and a large part of that is because of Jim.

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"It's because of his energy and entrepreneurial skills that the program is where it is. You are not going to be able to replace him. It takes a James Brown type of person to get it all going."

Brown has been considering retirement in various forms for the last three years. He had considered retiring as basketball coach or athletic director first and remaining in the other capacity for another year.

But Brown indicated after last season he was going to take time to consider the future and would announce his final decision after the 2002 season. Brown said the fact he is approaching his 65th birthday will play a part in his decision.

According to the source, many colleagues and key people in Brown's tenure at the college will be present for the announcement.

Shea announced his retirement before the start of the 2001-02 school year and will be leaving the school on June 30 after serving 16 years as president.

If Brown retires, it will end a 43-year career in education in Washington County, including 37 as a coach. Brown completed 15 years as a high school coach - seven years at Hancock and eight at North Hagerstown - before eventually joining the staff of then-Hagerstown Junior College. He also spent some time coaching football.

Brown has coached in 1,053 Washington County games since beginning at Hancock on Dec. 11, 1959 - recording a career record of 747-306 for a .709 winning percentage.

If he retires, Brown will have posted a 517-205 record in 23 seasons for the Hawks, according to HCC's basketball media guide. The Hawks finished with a 25-7 mark this season.

He led HCC to two National Junior College Athletic Association national basketball tournaments in 1989 and 1994. The 1989 team included Dexter Boney, who graduated to play at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas before playing professionally in the CBA and abroad.

Brown was named Maryland JuCo Conference coach of the year five times. His program has sent a number of athletes to Division I schools, including Boney, Bernard Hopkins (Virginia Commonwealth), Keith Moody (Nebraska), Hagerstown's Phil Young (Radford), Lamont Dale (Texas Tech) and Eric Branham (Virginia Tech).

As athletic director, Brown has presided over the addition of a number of programs, giving student-athletes the opportunity to compete in 15 different sports.

Besides his involvement in basketball, Brown was instrumental in campaigning for and raising funds for the construction of HCC's Athletic, Recreation and Community Center (ARCC), which opened in December 1988. It is considered Western Maryland's premier athletic facility and is the home of the NJCAA's Women's Division II national basketball championship.

He has also worked to complete the upgrade of the Pinesburg softball complex and has been a member of the task force to build a new baseball stadium.

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