When Sam Brown was in the first grade, his teacher asked her students what they wanted to be when they grew up.
That was an easy question for Brown to answer.
“I had a brother-in-law who was a coach,” Brown said. “That’s what I wanted to do.”
The more difficult question for Brown has been when to step away from his passion of coaching basketball. He now thinks he’s found the answer. Brown is calling it a career after 39 years with his last three being spent at West Morgan.
“Coaching basketball takes a big commitment,” Brown said. “I have two grandkids and have been missing out on doing things with them. I also like to play some golf.
“We had a really good season (23-7) to end it on. It was a great group of guys to coach. We got it going after Christmas and really played well. It just seems like a perfect time to step away.”
Brown stepped away from coaching in 2012 after 20 years at Brewer only to rebound at West Morgan in 2013. In 2020, Brown retired after four seasons at Decatur only to bounce back again at West Morgan just two months later.
The Rebels won the Morgan County Tournament championship in January. It was Brown’s third at West Morgan. He had eight at Brewer.
West Morgan took its area tournament championship and advanced through the subregional round to the Northwest Regional. A tough day vs. Deshler at Wallace State ended the season with a 69-53 loss.
“It’s been a lot of fun to be a coach,” Brown said. “It’s not a sad thing that it’s over. It’s just time to do something else.”
West Morgan Principal Keith Harris said the job has been posted and several candidates have expressed interest. He hopes to have a new coach hired in April.
“Sam and I have become friends over the last eight years with his two times here as basketball coach,” Harris said. “We appreciate everything he’s done for the community and our school. He’s certainly had a big impact.”
Brown, who will be 61 in April, 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.
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