MONROEVILLE – New Alabama Southern Community College Men's Basketball Coach William Brown has hit the ground running – literally – because he has to.
Brown was hired in late September, right before practice began for the fall season. As a result, he has had to kick preparations into high gear for the season-opener on November 8 at home against Pensacola State's Pirates.
"It has been a challenge," he said, "but I have a lot of help and I feel really good about our chances based on the effort and attitude I have seen so far."
Brown credited ASCC Interim President Roger Chandler and Athletic Director Daniel Head with providing crucial support during the transition. He has also been aided by longtime assistant coach, Roy Maye, whom Brown says has played a pivotal role in the transition. In addition to Maye are the players, all of whom were recruited to ASCC by Brown's predecessor, Trent Eager.
"Coach Eager brought in some good kids who have good attitudes," Brown said. "I've gotten to know them all, to sit down and talk to them and figure out where they want to go and I'm in the process of trying to find a way to help them achieve those goals – on the court, in the classroom and in life."
He also has four sophomores forming the core of this year's squad, including Daniel Kinchen, Malik Blanchard, Xavier Johnson and Jeremiah Thornton. They are joined by Khalil Spearman, a transfer sophomore from Gulf Coast Community College. The team also has some freshmen who have been working hard, including Tyshawn Davis, Damani Flanigan, Joe Williams and Alonzo Moore.
"We're installing a new system and they're having to learn that," Brown said. "We're also doing a lot of conditioning work. It is going to be a challenge but I am happy with the group I am working with. They really are good kids."
Over the next few months, Brown hopes to get his team involved in more than just basketball and school.
"School is important," he remarked, "but we're also looking for ways to get them involved in the community. We've visited churches and I'm in the process of getting our kids going into the schools to read to elementary school kids and get involved in any way they can with the world outside college and basketball."
Brown grew up in Montgomery and played high school basketball at Jeff Davis High School, where his team posted a 32-1 mark, won the Class 6A State Championship and achieved a number three ranking in the nation in 1995. While he grew up in Montgomery, Brown has deep roots in Monroe County.
"I spent just about every summer at my grandmother's house," Brown said. His grandmother was Carrie Bell Tucker. His mother, Linda Stanton, grew up in Monroeville. "I'm very familiar with the Monroeville and Uriah areas."
After finishing high school, Brown played college basketball at Tuskegee University. When he graduated, he began coaching on both the high school and college levels.
He came to Alabama Southern after working as an assistant at Miles College in Birmingham. Prior to that, he was head coach at Talladega College, where he led the Tornadoes to a championship. He also coached at Jacksonville University in Florida and at St. Jude's High School in Montgomery, where his team won championships.
Along the way, he coached many good players, including JaMychal Green, who was a standout at the University of Alabama and who currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.
"My first head coaching job, though, was at Escambia County over in Atmore," Coach Brown said. "I am familiar with this area. I know there is a lot of basketball talent around here and I plan on recruiting hard right here in the service area, to get some of these local kids into our program."
Brown said he hopes the community will continue showing its support for the Eagles program.
"We're going to play some really tough schools right off the bat," he said. "Hopefully that will get us ready for league play. We want our fans to turn out. They'll see some good basketball. Our guys are going to work hard and they are going to compete and if we can keep doing those things, I am confident we will win."