After getting up and going to school for 53 years, Sam Brown decided this week it’s time to do something else.
The Decatur boys basketball coach for the last four years is retiring after 36 years in education. He was a head basketball coach for 32 of those years.
“Basketball has been real good to me,” Brown said. “I’ve enjoyed it. Now I can have more time to work in my garden.”
Brown’s retirement means Decatur is now looking for a new head coach for both the boys and girls programs. Girls coach Grace Newton was relieved of her duties last week.
Brown, 58, has been a fixture in Morgan County basketball since 1992. That’s when he arrived at Brewer as an assistant coach for Earl Morris. Before that the Lineville native had been head coach at Wadley in Randolph County and then Heflin in Cleburne County.
“I wanted to get to north Alabama because that’s where the best basketball was being played,” Brown said. “I had been a head coach and thought I knew a lot of basketball. In those four years with Coach Morris, I learned I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.”
Morris retired after the 1995-1996 season and Brown was promoted to head coach. He had nine Brewer teams win Morgan County Tournament championships. He stepped away from coaching following the 2011-2012 season.
Two seasons later he was the head coach at West Morgan. He coached the Rebels to two Morgan County Tournament championships.
In 2016 when Jamie Lee left Decatur to be head coach at Grissom, Brown took over the Decatur program. His last team went 11-18, but the Red Raiders gave their fans quite a finish by winning six of their last seven games.
“Our three seniors — Smith Coon, Adam Burroughs and Mitchell Terry — did an excellent job of leading the team at the end,” Brown said. “That was a lot of fun. It was a great way to go out.”
Basketball success has been difficult in recent years for Decatur basketball. The Red Raiders’ last winning record came in the 2011-2012 season at 17-11. Brown sees better days ahead.
“The cupboard is not bare at Decatur,” Brown said. “There’s some good young talent coming along.”
Brown told school officials and his players of his decision on Monday.
“I’m sure my wife is working on a list of things for me to do while she’s at work,” Brown said.
Brown’s wife, Jill, is the principal at Falkville Elementary.