KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Former University of Tennessee men’s and women’s assistant basketball coach and area resident Al Brown is being inducted into the A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame, the organization’s founders, Johnny and Felicia Allen, have announced.
The Class of 2020 was revealed last March, but due to state shutdowns and travel restrictions imposed across America by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was postponed until 2021. Safety concerns remain for everyone’s well-being and as a result A STEP UP, Inc. will honor the Class of 2020 at a virtual Hall of Fame Ceremony on May 2 from 5-7 p.m. Eastern. Free tickets are available at www.astepuplive.com.
Joining Brown in the 2020 class for the A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame, presented by Worth Advisors, are former Lady Vol aide from 2012-17 Jolette Law, University of South Carolina; Bill Brock, Baylor University; Bill Guthridge, University of North Carolina (honored posthumously), Karl Hobbs, Rutgers University; Tommy Lloyd, University of Arizona; Kenny Payne, New York Knicks; and Bob Starkey, Auburn University.
A STEP UP, Inc. became the first organization to exclusively recognize NCAA men’s and women’s basketball assistant coaches with the distinction of the Hall of Fame honor. This year A STEP UP will also ‘honor the past’ by saluting a retired men’s and women’s assistant basketball coach whose body of work as an assistant coach is worthy of recognition and celebration. Note that several members of the Class of 2020 have transitioned to new roles from the time they were elected into the Hall of Fame.
The A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame Committee received recommendations from coaches, the media and other sports professionals from across the nation. Voting was based on the candidates’ track record of success, significant contributions to the game as well as high character, integrity and respect among their colleagues.
In 38 years of coaching, Brown was a part of three NCAA Championships, four NCAA runner-up teams, eight NCAA Final Four squads and 24 NCAA Tournaments. Brown coached men’s and women’s basketball at 11 different schools, including Purdue, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Western Michigan, Ball State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Cleveland State, Michigan State and Duke. He was head men’s coach at Ball State from 1982-87.
Brown served as an assistant to UT men’s head coach Wade Houston from 1991 to 1993 and was on Pat Summitt’s Lady Vol staff from 1995-2002, overlapping with the playing career of current UT women’s head coach Kellie (Jolly) Harper. Brown contributed his knowledge to a staff that steered the Lady Vols to NCAA titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998, including an undefeated 39-0 season in ’98, as well as Final Four appearances in 2000 and 2002.
Tennessee forged a 224-29 mark during his time assisting the Lady Vols, with the Big Orange winning five SEC regular season crowns and four tournament titles in his seven seasons on Summitt’s staff.
Squads that Brown helped coach won 80 percent of their games, advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 19 of 22 seasons and won three NCAA titles. He has five appearances as a coach in the NCAA women’s basketball championship game and is the only coach in college basketball history to coach in the men’s (1969, Purdue vs. UCLA) and women’s national championship game (Tennessee, 1996-98, 2000; Michigan State, 2005).
A 1964 graduate of Purdue, Brown also is the only person to coach men’s and women’s basketball in the Southeastern Conference and the Big Ten Conference at two different schools in each league.
BROWN’S COLLEGE COACHING CAREER
Purdue Men’s Assistant, 1967-70
Ball State Men’s Assistant, 1977-82
Ball State Men’s Head Coach, 1982-87
Western Michigan Men’s Assistant, 1987-88
Minnesota Men’s Assistant, 1988-91
Tennessee Men’s Assistant, 1991-93
Tennessee Women’s Assistant, 1995-2002
Wisconsin Women’s Assistant, 2002-03
South Carolina/Cleveland State Women’s Assistant, 2003-04
Michigan State Women’s Assistant, 2004-07
Duke Women’s Assistant, 2007-17