When the 2015-16 PSAC men’s basketball regular season draws to a close in less than two weeks, the conference will bid farewell to one of its most successful coaches.
On Thursday afternoon, California Vulcans longtime head coach Bill Brown announced he will retire at the end of the season. Brown will leave as the winningest coach in program history and current active leader in head coaching wins of any other current PSAC coach. During his 20 year tenure at Cal, Brown has compiled a 365-207 record which ranks fifth all-time in PSAC history and is currently one of just six PSAC coaches to garner 350 wins in the conference.
Brown originally began his basketball career as a player for the University of Ohio, just a few short hours away from his hometown of Toledo. Brown became a notable name in Bobcats history by being a three-year starter and two-time, all-conference selection playing. After his playing time, Brown started his coaching career as an assistant at Ohio, followed by Kent State, then under legendary head coach, Eddie Sutton, at Arkansas.
Before coming to Cal in 1996, Brown spent 10 plus seasons as a head coach beginning at Sacramento State for two seasons, then at Kenyon (OH). Overall, Brown’s entire head coaching record sits at 490-334 and sits 18th all-time among active Division II coaches. Brown brought life to the California men’s basketball program by leading them to six NCAA tournament appearances and two PSAC championships. Brown’s finest season as coach came in 2007-08 when he led the Vulcans to the second of two PSAC championships, and an appearance in the Elite Eight.
Brown’s unique brand of coaching has seen 40 of his Vulcan player’s gain All-PSAC West honors, including 22 first-team selections. Brown gained PSAC honors as well by being named PSAC West Coach of the Year five times and also received NABC Regional Coach of the Year twice during his tenure with the Vulcans.
One of the more notable names to be linked with Brown is current head Texas Longhorns head coach, Shaka Smart. Smart was recruited by Brown to play at Kenyon, and then was hired by Brown to be a graduate assistant coach for the Vulcans for three seasons. Smart would go on to lead Virginia Commonwealth’s Cinderella run to the final four in 2011 as head coach before accepting the Texas job this past offseason.
The Vulcans will not make the playoffs this season, marking Cal’s final regular season finale at home against Edinboro on February 24th, Brown’s final game as head coach. Brown’s name is permanently etched in Cal athletics history, and now his current players look to give him a proper send off in his final four games.
Photo Credit: California University of Pennsylvania