Mike Brown was a star basketball and football player at the Würzburg American High School in Germany. Former Arizona State University basketball player Ron Johnson, who was coaching a professional German team in Germany, saw Brown play and asked him to join the team. Johnson had coached a Maricopa Community Colleges team and put Brown in touch with Mesa Community College Coach Tom Bennett to help the young athlete earn athletic scholarships.
While Mike was a sophomore at MCC, the T-Birds reached the NJCAA National Tournament with a 32-3 record, which is still the best basketball season in school history. Transferring to the University of San Diego, he started 19 of 28 games averaging 7.6 points and won the team's Bugelli Leadership Award. Mike earned a business degree from USD then began his National Basketball Association career.
Over the next decade he helped coach several teams, led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007, was named NBA Coach of the Year for the 2008-09 season, was on the lead coaching staff for the Golden State Warriors, and is now head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
The Nigerian Basketball Federation reached out to him in November 2019 to lead their national team to the Summer 2021 Olympics. He generously volunteered to coach the team for no salary, buying practice jerseys and other equipment out of his own pocket. The team’s pre-Olympic win is the stuff of dreams and legends. At the Las Vegas demonstration games, Mike coached the Nigerian national basketball team to a 90-87 upset over the superstars of Team USA.
For a link to the full video of the ceremony, please visit MCC Hall of Fame 2022.
The Fall 2021 Alumni & Friends newsletter feature expands on Coach Brown's story: MCC basketball alumnus coaches Nigerian Olympic team.