PHILADELPHIA — A person familiar with the decision tells The Associated Press the Philadelphia 76ers have hired San Antonio assistant Brett Brown to be their coach, ending a four-month search to replace Doug Collins. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the move has not
Collins resigned in April after the Sixers went 34-48. New General Manager Sam Hinkie took quite a while looking for a replacement before choosing Brown, who was part of three NBA title teams with San Antonio.
Brown, 52, will not return for a 13th season as an assistant to San Antonio Coach Gregg Popovich. The 1979 graduate of South Portland High School has years of head coaching experience in Australia and has earned four NBA championship rings as an assistant with San Antonio. He came within 20 seconds of winning a fifth before Miami staged an improbable comeback in Game 6 of the finals last month and defeated the Spurs in a seven-game series.
After graduating from South Portland High, Brown played point guard at Boston University, where he was named MVP as a sophomore and then captain as a junior and a senior. He remains third on the school’s all-time list for assist-to-turnover ratio (2.19) and is sixth in career assists (404) and ninth in steals (141).
After leading Boston University to the 1983 NCAA tournament — the Terriers’ first since 1959 — Brown became a graduate assistant to John Kuester, after Pitino left to become an assistant coach for the Knicks.
In 1984, Brown took a sales job in Boston with AT&T and saved enough money to embark on a backpacking adventure in 1987 to New Zealand, Fiji and Australia. The trip changed his life. He met the woman who would become his wife (Anna) and mother to their three children (Julia, Lauren and Sam). A cold call to a legendary Australian basketball coach, Lindsay Gaze (father of Andrew Gaze, the former Seton Hall and NBA player who carried the Australian flag at the Sydney Olympics), led to a coaching position, and Brown wound up living in Australia.
He spent four years as an assistant to Gaze and 14 as a head coach in the Australian National Basketball League, earning Coach of the Year honors in 1994, when his Melbourne Giants won the league title. He spent eight years as an assistant with the Australian National Team, for both the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Games, and became Australia’s head coach in 2009 for the London Games last summer.