Hubert Jude “Hubie” Brown (born September 25, 1933) is an American retired basketball coach and a current television analyst. Brown is a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, the honors being separated by 26 years. Brown was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.
He graduated from St. Mary of the Assumption High School in 1951 While in high school, St. Mary won state championships in football, basketball and baseball.
Hubie Brown played college basketball and baseball at Niagara University, graduating in 1955 with a degree in education. While at Niagara, Brown was a teammate (and roommate) of former Utah Jazz coach Frank Layden, as well as Larry Costello and Charlie Hoxie, who would go on to star for the Harlem Globetrotters.
After leaving Niagara, Brown joined the U.S. Army where he joined the Army’s basketball team. After being honorably discharged in 1958, Brown briefly played for the Rochester Colonels of the Eastern Professional Basketball League (the forerunner to the Continental Basketball Association) before they folded after just eight games. He averaged 13.8 points per game in his brief stint as a pro and was an excellent defender as a player. He returned to Niagara to earn a master’s degree in education.
Brown’s defensive mentality would carry on into his coaching career, which began in 1955 at St. Mary Academy in Little Falls, New York where he coached both basketball and baseball. He spent nine years at the high school level, including Cranford High School in Cranford, New Jersey and Fair Lawn High School in Fair Lawn, New Jersey before becoming an assistant coach for one season at the College of William and Mary in 1968. The following season, Brown joined Duke University as an assistant coach.
Brown coached at Duke until 1972, when he joined the NBA as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks under Larry Costello. Milwaukee made the NBA Finals in 1974 with future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson, but fell in seven games to the Boston Celtics, who were led by their own superstars: Dave Cowens, John Havlicek, Jo Jo White and future Bucks coach Don Nelson.
After two seasons in the NBA, Brown was given his first professional-level head coaching opportunity – the head coach position with the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association. Brown led the Colonels to the 1975 ABA Championship. Brown continued as the Colonels’ coach until the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 when the Colonels franchise folded, one of two ABA teams that did not join the NBA (the Spirits of St. Louis being the other).
Brown then rejoined the NBA as head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, going 31-51 in his first season with the Hawks. But by the 1977-78 season, the Hawks had rebounded into a .500 team, finishing 41-41 and earning Coach of the Year honors for Brown.
Brown continued to coach the Hawks, leading them to a Central Division Title in the 1979-80 season, before joining the New York Knicks in 1982, succeeding long-time coach Red Holtzman.
Sixteen years removed from his previous NBA coaching job, Brown was again tapped to be a head coach in the NBA 2002-03 season by Jerry West of the Memphis Grizzlies, who fired coach Sidney Lowe after an 0-8 start. The Grizzlies’ choice of Brown was quite controversial at the time; Hubie Brown was the oldest coach in the NBA at the age of 69.
Brown then turned back to the broadcasting booth. Following his dismissal from the Knicks, CBS hired Brown as a broadcaster in 1987, and served alongside Verne Lundquist as the third team during select regular season and playoff games. Before that, while still Knicks head coach Brown was paired with Brent Musburger during the 1985 NBA Playoffs.
Brown was nominated for a Sports Emmy in 1994 and 1999
In 2005, Brown was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor.
Career highlights and awards
ABA champion (1975)
2× NBA Coach of the Year (1978, 2004)