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Albany High Coach Preaches Education First

February 18, 2014

by Joshua Natoli

Sports in the academic world have become more competitive than ever, even in high school, players have put schoolwork on the back burner to succeed on the court. Some coaches, though, still believe “student” is the most important component of the student-athlete.

Such is the case with Sean Brown, head coach of the Albany High School varsity boy’s basketball team. Brown just finished up his first full regular season as head coach and has already instilled his education-oriented system in his players.

“The important thing is that there is more to life than ball on and off the court, and the lessons that are taught and learned on the court translate into the classroom and life,” Brown said. He helped organize a tutoring program for his players in which they stay after school three times a week for enrichment to build their academic portfolios.

Brown has been in love with the game since growing up in the Bronx. He has played at almost every level of basketball from his days at Southern Vermont College to playing semi-pro ball across New York City and in Massachusetts.

The game proved to be impossible for Brown to give up, so coaching was the next step. He spent six seasons as an assistant at The Sage Colleges, and was introduced to the Big 10 conference at the varsity level when he moved to LaSalle Institute in Troy, where he coached until 2008.

Brown led his Falcons against his former team this season with an Albany win against the Cadets 65-63. Brown called that moment an “exclamation point.”

Sean Brown talks to his team during a timeout/Joshua Natoli

Sean Brown talks to his team during a timeout/Joshua Natoli

He took the reigns after the departure of interim coach Kenneth Danzy, who led the Falcons to a record of 4-15 in the 2012-2013 season. Before Danzy was Jon McClement who in four seasons tallied a 47-36 record for Albany, including two appearances at the Section II Class AA Semifinal game in 2010 and 2011.

In addition to his high school experiences, Brown has been coaching the Albany Youth Basketball program, and is currently president and founder of Make A Play Inc., an organization that seeks to provide comprehensive academic and athletic programs within the community. Brown also serves in the K-16 Initiatives and Access Programs Office at the New York State Education Department.

Brown, a newcomer himself, had to adjust to another fresh face, senior guard Elijah Williams, the team’s second leading scorer. It was Williams’ first year with the Falcons, but the coach and player had a history.  “He was my AAU coach,” said Williams. “I felt comfortable.”

The fact that Albany finished out the regular season below .500 with a record of 6-11 is a slight improvement, but what is most important to Brown is that his players succeed.

“The key factor was to instill the pride, work ethic, and respect that Albany demands,” said Brown.
“He has a heart for the kids,” said Dwayne Beckford, assistant coach.  “It’s schoolwork first, basketball second and preparing them for life.”

Brown’s Falcons are now set for the Section II Class AA tournament with a first round road match-up against the Columbia Blue Devils at 7:30 tonight.-30-


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