Bulldog Pride: Greg Brown returns to alma mater as coach

By Mark Smith

Enchantment Sports

Editor in Chief

It meant the world to Greg Brown growing up in Westgate.

It means just as much to him today.

“Bulldog Pride,” says the 47-year-old former Albuquerque High and University of New Mexico basketball superstar. “Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to be a Bulldog. I’ve always been a Bulldog.

“I’ve always had Bulldog Pride.”

And the Bulldog community has certainly had plenty of pride in Brown – the 1990 New Mexico player of the year and the college basketball’s Francis Pomeroy Naismith Award winner in 1994, honoring the nation’s best senior player under 6 feet tall.

And that pride is bubbling over once again with today’s announcement of Brown as the new head boys hoop coach at Albuquerque High.

“It’s an exciting time for Albuquerque High , in bringing Greg back to Bulldog City,” said AHS athletic director Doug Dorame. “It will be a challenge, but he’s been challenged his entire life and has met every one of them.

Brown takes over for Ron Garcia, who resigned over the summer.

The Bulldogs went a combined 36-44 the past three seasons.

“I take it personally when I hear people talking about Albuquerque High not being any good anymore,” Brown said. “There are people who weren’t raised here, and they think it’s always been that way. They don’t understand how great Albuquerque High basketball was in the 70s, 80s and 90s.

“I want to get it back to how it used to be. It’s exciting, but there a lot of things that need to be put in place. I still haven’t even met the players.”

Greg Brown

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, practice isn’t allowed to begin until Oct. 5.Dorame said Brown is scheduled to meet the players via online video on Friday.

At 5-foot-7, Brown electrified the state during his prep and college hoop careers.

But despite his success – and his desire to be a Lobo – he was not recruited by the University of New Mexico out of high school, and went to New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs for two years.

After Brown became a JUCO All-American, then Lobo coach Dave Bliss finally offered him a scholarship.

Brown accepted and led UNM to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1993 and 1994 and was named the Western Athletic conference player of the year as a senior.

“When I didn’t get recruited out of high school and had to go to JUCO, man, that was hard to swallow,” Brown told Enchantment Sports. “I understand what New Mexico kids have to go through, because I went through it.

“Here I was, New Mexico player of the year, and I had to go to JUCO. That’s why I’ve always tried to help New Mexico players get recruited. Now, it’s my Bulldogs I’m going to help.”

Greg Brown, right, with daughter, Amaya, and son, Amari (Courtesy/Greg Brown).

Will Amari transfer to Albuquerque High this season?

“That’s entirely up to Amari Brown,” Greg said. “It’s his decision.”

Greg is in the New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame. See this link.

Quick tidbits about Greg Brown:
  • Teaches at Santo Domingo in Bernalillo, and says he will continue to teach there while he coaches.
  •  Worked for the City of Albuquerque as a supervisor for Family and Community Services before leaving to become a teacher in 2014.
  • Brown’s daughter, Amaya Brown, was a basketball star at Cibola and is a sophomore on the Florida State basketball team.
  •  Played against West Mesa coach Shonn Schroer while in high school and was an assistant for Schroer in recent years.
  •  Led AHS to state title in 1990, with the Bulldogs beating La Cueva in the title game. Newly-hired La Cueva coach Brian Joyce was a junior on that 1990 team.
  •  Was one of two prep stars with the same name in Albuquerque, the other being 1990 graduate Greg Brown of Academy. The latter Brown is head coach at Volcano Vista.

Mark Smith has worked in New Mexico sports media for more than four Mark Smith mugdecades, and is one of the most decorated sports journalists in state history. Smith has won more than 30 combined awards in print, television and radio and has been honored nationally for investigative reporting. He is the editor in chief of Enchantment Sports. Contact him at mark.enchantmentsportsNM@gmail.com.



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