Dave Brown, who built the Winthrop High School boys basketball program into a Northeastern Conference powerhouse, has stepped down from his position after ten seasons at the helm.
Brown, a Winthrop Police officer, informed his players of his decision at the end of the team’s breakup banquet Monday night at the Winthrop Yacht Club.
The 40-year-old Brown turned Winthrop, the smallest school in the NEC, into a perennial contender for league and state titles. His teams won 93 games the past five years, including the 2011 Division 4 state championship and three NEC South titles. He had a career record of 136-95.
“I had ten good years in Winthrop,” said Brown. “It’s been a challenging year with my work schedule and coaching. I just think it’s a good time to take some time off. My wife [Helen] and I have three small children. Coaching high school basketball takes a tremendous commitment and it can be emotional draining.”
Brown served as a Winthrop assistant for two years before being appointed head coach. Winthrop won just six games in his first two seasons, but the program began to thrive under his leadership, advancing to the North sectional final four years in a row and defeating Cohasset in the state final at the TD Garden.
With his outstanding coaching record, experience as a college player at Westfield State where he is a Hall of Fame inductee, the solid academic performance of his players, and the number of athletes he has sent on to college, Brown would be a top candidate for any coaching opening in boys or girls basketball.
“I’m not completely stepping out of coaching,” said Brown. “If a good situation were to come up for my family and me, I would look into it. Over the course of my tenure in coaching, I’ve probably lost some friends because of coaching situations, but I’ve also gained some friends.”
Brown said coaching high school basketball extends beyond the regular season and tournament. “I’m going to enjoy the off season where you’re not running around chasing kids to get to summer league and fall league games. My three kids [Ava, Eliza, and Dave Jr.] play baseball and softball so now I can concentrate on seeing them play.”
Brown began his high school basketball career at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn where he was a 1,000-point scorer. He continued his success at Westfield where he eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone.
Brown said Winthrop was a great town in which to coach.
“I want to thank all my former players,” said Brown. “I have a unique relationship with them. Many return to our practices and I stay in touch. Without them, we wouldn’t have accomplished all the championships that we won. I know I’m going to miss coaching in Winthrop. I’m losing a part of my family – that’s the atmosphere we had here.”
Brown praised the many individuals and organizations who were supportive of his basketball program through the years, including Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, Olympic hockey captain Mike Eruzione, Viking Pride, Chucky Famolare of Famolare’s Catering, MSA Mortgage, “and all the people who donated generously and supported our program.”
Brown also thanked WHS athletic director Peter Gobiel, who appointed him to the head coaching position a decade ago. He also appreciated the support from athletic directors Peter Finn, James Coffey, and Rob O’Leary, principal Gail Conlon, and assistant principal Robin Kostegan.
Graduating players Joe D’Amore and Quinton Dale, who played key roles on the 2011 state championship team, said that Brown has been a positive role model and influence in their lives. He was also grateful for the dedication of assistant coaches Pancho Bingham, Richie Biachino, Nick Leonard, Dan Mahoney, James Arena, Brian Curley, Ignacio Oyola, John MacPhail, Jack MacDonald, Peter Lyons, and Dave Segal,
“He was a great coach, hard on us at times, but at the end of the day he just wanted to get the best out of all of us,” said D’Amore, a clutch performer in the state championship game. “I think it made me better as a person, just the way I see things, not just on the court, but off the court, too. I wouldn’t rather have had any other coach but him.”
Dale, the Northeastern Conference South MVP whose improvement since freshman year made him an excellent college prospect, said, “He’s an amazing coach and an amazing person. He’s a person that I have the utmost respect for in my life. He got on me a lot but it’s always worked out for the better. I’m really sad he’s leaving because no one is ever going to take his place. He’s a great guy and it’s been fun playing basketball for him.”