Dale Brown, a Mississippi native who was a stand-out at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (MGCCC), is tabbed as one of the best players in Mississippi Junior College (JUCO) history. He was a first team JUCO All-American and the 1991 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. Brown helped lead the Bulldogs to a 33-4 record and back-to-back Region 23 titles. For his accomplishments, Brown was inducted into in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. After two successful years at MGCCC, his talents landed him a scholarship to the University of Kentucky under the leadership of legendary coach Rick Pitino where he was instrumental in carrying the Wildcats to the 1992 NCAA Elite Eight and 1993 NCAA Final Four. In two seasons at Kentucky, Brown was twice honored as Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year (1992 and 1993) and SEC Newcomer of the Year (1992).
After a brief run in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings, Brown played with professional teams in Greece, Italy, Australia, and France. His coaching career began as an assistant coach in the NBA Developmental League where he coached 15 players who were granted opportunities to play in the NBA and European basketball leagues. He then served as the associate and interim head coach at Pikeville College for one season before returning to Mississippi Gulf Coast as an assistant. Perhaps his most decorated season as a head coach came in 2007 when he led Moss Point High School to the best record in school history (32-6) and a Mississippi state semi-finals appearance. Brown also served as head coach at Dillard University in New Orleans and at Clark Atlantic College in Atlanta.
Following completion of his associate’s degree at MGCCC, he received the bachelor’s in leadership from the University of Kentucky, and subsequently earned his master’s degree in teaching with technology from Ashford University.
“He brings a great knowledge of the game with a history of success and a background, particularly as a player, that can motivate and inspire young players to successful endeavors beyond the basketball court,” said Associate Athletic Director D’Wayne Robinson.
Head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers men's basketball team, Rick Stansbury, began his coaching career in 1981 at his alma mater, Campbellsville College, a team he led to the NAIA Tournament in his senior year as a player. Stansbury is best known for his 20+ years at Mississippi State, 14 as head coach of the Bulldogs. Stansbury was part of over 15 postseason tournament appearances. Prior to his arrival at Mississippi State, MSU had two post-seasons in 27 years (both NIT).
Seven of Coach Stansbury's former players moved on to professional careers in the NBA Tyrone Washington (Houston Rockets), Mario Austin (Chicago Bulls), Derrick Zimmerman (Golden State Warriors), Lawrence Roberts (Seattle SuperSonics, Memphis Grizzlies), Jarvis Varnado (Miami Heat), Arnett Moultrie (Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers), and Rodney Hood (Utah Jazz, Cleveland Cavaliers).
Off the court, Stansbury's program graduated players at a rate never before seen at Mississippi State. Over his time as head coach, only Vanderbilt had a higher graduation rate in the SEC, and the Bulldogs were third in the SEC with 41 academic honorees in 14 years. Fans also came out in droves in Starkville to watch Stansbury's Bulldogs play. Of the Top 30 most attended games in MSU history, 26 came during Stansbury's run as head coach including all of the Top 10.
Dillard University Women's Basketball Head Coach Norbert Rome is the architect of his alma mater's resurgence in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, making it to the national NAIA Tournament.
A dedicated family man, Rome also volunteers time with AAU youth basketball teams, placing as high as fifth in the AAU National Tournament. For Rome, the best thing about coaching is "the ability to help other people to become the best versions of themselves and to allow them to be able to take advantage of the opportunity that they have."
Matt Figger took over as head coach of the Austin Peay Governors men's basketball team following assistant coaching assignments at South Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas State and South Carolina where he was part of the Gamecocks' Final Four appearance in the 2017 NCAA Tournament.
Carolina also excelled in the classroom under Figger. The team GPA of a 3.0 or above for several years running earned the squad the NABC Team Academic Excellence Award and numerous SEC and NABC academic honors.
Coach Brown, a New Orleans native, led the Dillard University Lady Bleu Devils to its first Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) Tournament title in 2010 and its first-ever berth to the national tournament for volleyball. She graduated from L.B. Landry High School in 1995 and received a scholarship to play volleyball at Grambling State University.
As an NCAA volleyball player, Brown was a three-time all-conference and all-tournament selection. She helped guide the Grambling Lady Tigers to a SWAC title and concluded a successful collegiate career as SWAC Player of the Year. In 2000, Coach Brown received her Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Grambling State University.
Brown's first coaching experience came as a volunteer coach for underprivileged children in New Orleans at the Gold and Blue Institute. She also provided services as a volleyball consultant to the coaching staff at John McDonogh High School. Brown began her collegiate coaching career at Alcorn State University.
“Downtown” Dale Brown has enjoyed privileges that few will ever experience. A number of these privileges are a direct result of a supportive community and the opportunities afforded him through the gift of basketball.
Through a remarkable college basketball career, years as a professional basketball player, and decades as a high school and college coach, he truly understands that he never would have acquired those privileges if not for the strong community that supported him.
Over the past 11 years, Brown has returned to his hometown of Pascagoula, Mississippi to host the Dale Brown Boys and Girls Basketball Camp utilizing his personal resources. Year after year, Brown witnessed the continuing deterioration of his once vibrant community. He observed that youth were falling through the cracks at school, being lost to the streets and seeing preventable health issues afflict the lives many. Brown's most alarming observation was that there was no place to go for physical activities, mentorship or tutoring. In contrast to the inner-city areas such as Pascagoula and Moss Point, the suburbs have a full array of youth sports, physical fitness and academic programs with strong financial support. Urban youth, especially urban girls, have been deprived of the opportunity for physical activity, coaching, being part of a team, learning skills, academic
preparation and substantial time away from "negative recreation" (i.e., drugs, violence or sexual activities).
Devoted to helping create the change so urgently needed in his community, Brown brought his vision into fruition with the formation of the non-profit Dale Brown Sports Academy Foundation. This organization will provide year round physical fitness programs and educational services to youth and adults in the Jackson County area in Mississippi.
It is the core belief of the academy that all children must have the opportunity for a successful start in education and sport regardless of age, race, gender, family composition, income or community. In response to this significant disparity in the Jackson County area, Dale Brown Sports Academy Foundation has been created to provide the sports and education programs necessary for Jackson County youth and young adults to have equal opportunity for organized sports and academic preparation.