Approximately 24 hours after the university announced his dismissal, former UAlbany men’s basketball head coach Will Brown posted Tuesday “an open letter to the Capital Region community.”
Brown’s run as the Great Danes’ coach started in December 2001 and ended the morning after UAlbany’s season-ending loss Sunday in the America East Conference quarterfinals. In his two decades leading the Great Danes, UAlbany appeared in five NCAA tournaments.
“All good things eventually come to an end,” Brown wrote in his note posted on evernote.com. “As I take time to weigh my options and pursue new and exciting opportunities, I will continue to root hard for the men’s basketball program and all the coaches and players who continue to build upon the success we enjoyed over the past 20 years. Thank you UAlbany!”
A sign of how things had changed, so quickly, for a coach who had become synonymous with UAlbany: Brown posted the link to his note from his Twitter account, which had changed since his dismissal from @UAHOOPSWB to @CoachWB33. His profile photo, too, had changed from a UAlbany logo to a picture of Brown with his two sons, Jackson and Landon.
“To my team at home – my wife Jamie and our two boys, Jackson and Landon – your love and support over the years has made all the difference! Coaching my older son Jackson this year is something that I will cherish forever,” Brown wrote. “Jamie is the rock of our family, which has allowed me to grow as a coach and a person. Plus, her unbelievable support of our staff and the players is beyond compare. Jamie, Jackson, and Landon, celebrating with you made our wins even sweeter, and your encouragement during the tough times made them easier to bear. Thank you!”
Brown, 49, started with UAlbany as an assistant coach for the 2001-02 season. During that season, he replaced Scott Beeten to become the interim head coach, then was named the program’s head coach prior to the 2002-03 season. While coaching at UAlbany, Brown’s teams compiled a 315-295 record and won five America East championships. The program’s 2020-21 season, though, finished as the Great Danes’ third-consecutive losing season, a 7-9 campaign that served as the final one in Brown’s most-recent contract extension.
“As I look back on my two decades leading the UAlbany Great Danes, I am grateful for all the fantastic and truly talented players, coaches, trainers, and administrators I was blessed to work with, and I am proud of all we accomplished both on the court and in the community,” Brown wrote.
He added: “I will be forever grateful to former UAlbany President Dr. Karen Hitchcock and former Director of Athletics Dr. Lee McElroy for giving me the incredible opportunity to lead the University’s basketball program back in 2002. They took a chance on a 29-year-old kid, and I cannot thank them enough.”
Later, Brown wrote: “Finally, I wish President Havidan Rodriguez, Director of Athletics Mark Benson, and all the talented professionals and student-athletes at UAlbany the best of luck moving forward.”
Brown also thanked UAlbany fans, area media members and more in his letter.
“The UAlbany and Capital Region communities have been very important to our family and our basketball program,” Brown wrote. “For two decades, we have been dedicated to making an impact on the University community and supporting local organizations across the region. Jamie and I truly appreciate the strong, supportive relationships we have developed with colleagues, local leaders, non-profit organizations, businesses, and fans. You all have been so good to our family, and we will cherish the times spent getting to know you, and the incredible work you do to make this community thrive. Jamie and I have been honored and humbled to support so many incredible causes and initiatives through our philanthropy and volunteerism. Giving back has always been a major priority for us, and we have tried to be generous with our time and money as we support numerous local, regional, and national organizations. We are particularly proud of our relationship with the American Cancer Society and the Coaches vs Cancer initiative, through which we helped to raise more than $2 million over the past 15 years.”
Brown did not respond Tuesday to a request for further comment, while Benson declined comment. Both Benson and Brown did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.
UAlbany announced Monday a national search is underway to find Brown’s successor. Currently, former associate head coach Jon Iati is serving as UAlbany’s interim head coach.