Brown cites tradition, community, championship potential in taking girls hoops job at Brossart

PHOTO: G. Michael Graham, Link NKY. New Bishop Brossart Lady 'Stangs Head Coach Steve Brown observes a recent workout. Brown may be the third head coach for the program in three seasons. But he retained a number of assistants from the previous staff to make for a smoother transition.

It is not the first time in the history of basketball that a head coach has taken the same position with a district rival.

Steve Brown accepted the position of head coach of the Bishop Brossart Lady ‘Stangs basketball program for a number of reasons. The 59-year-old cited the program’s tradition, the community involvement and opportunities to win both the 10th Region and an All A state berth. He’s known Bishop Brossart head softball coach Tom Baynum for a long time and worked with Director of Athletics Ron Verst at the United States Post Office for 30 years.

“I’m very familiar with the area. I had a couple daughters go through St. Joe’s Cold Spring. I coached there,” Brown said. “Everything I’ve heard and seen so far in talking to Principal Chris Holtz. He’s very interested in the athletics as well as all the extracurriculars. With where I’m at in this stage of my coaching career, I just thought it was a really good fit for me.”

Brown spent the previous three years coaching the Scott Lady Eagles. They finished 31-53 overall during that time. Following a 3-25 campaign in the first year, Scott finished 16-9 losing 55-47 to Bishop Brossart in the district title game before driving to the 10th Region semifinals and losing a tight 54-53 decision against Montgomery County.

“It was a tough decision on my part. They have a nice group of seniors returning. It’s tough when you’re around kids, especially when you go through the pandemic with them and several of them have seasons end with injuries,” Brown said of Scott. “One had two seasons end with knee injuries. But they’ve been really great. I wish them nothing but the best. But it was kind of now or never if I’m going to do this.”

Scott did not make the regional tournament last year struggling through that injury-riddled 12-19 season. Prior to that, Brown held the same position coaching the St. Henry girls for two years.

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“We are thrilled to have Coach Brown to be the new leader of our girls basketball program,” Bishop Brossart Athletic Director Ron Verst said. “With Coach Brown’s experience we know he will be able to continue the winning tradition here at Bishop Brossart.”

Brown has coached both boys and girls basketball for more than 30 years with some years off here and there for the birth of his children. Brown and his wife Sandy have three daughters.

Brown started his coaching career at the age of 19 shortly after graduating from Beechwood in 1981. He grew up playing against legendary Highlands boys and Northern Kentucky University men’s basketball coach Ken Shields. He’s also had stops at Campbell County and Boone County. 

“It’s just something I really enjoy doing and I really like to get down and break down teams’ tendencies, what people are doing and why they’re doing it,” Brown said. “I played through high school. I ran the point guard. I kind of had that ingrained in my thoughts.”

Brown is retired from the U.S. Post Office. He said being retired and devoting more time to coaching can be either a blessing or a sin. He remembers the days of going to work and then to practice.

“Sometimes you have to walk away from it because you’ll just sit there and keep going over things in your mind,” Brown said. “It is very nice that I’m at that stage and I don’t have to worry about scheduling commitments or issues.”

Bishop Brossart returns a good nucleus from last year’s squad that finished 20-11, winning the 37th District championship. The Mustangs drove to the 10th Region semifinals losing 45-27 to eventual region champion and state quarterfinalist George Rogers Clark.

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The Lady ‘Stangs return three starters in senior forward Molly Kramer along with senior guards Bella Rowe and Olivia Lloyd. Kramer led Bishop Brossart, averaging 9.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game last year. Lloyd averaged 7.2 points per game.

“We’re trying to focus on what we still have and not what we graduated. We’re trying to work hard and keep our motivation up,” Rowe said. “We come in early. Even the girls in other sports still work on it and show up when they can.”

Bishop Brossart graduated two starters in guards Lauren Macht and Madison Parker along with center Alexis Kaeff and forward/guard Bentley Fisher. The Lady ‘Stangs have good players coming up from the junior varsity and freshmen levels. Brown described Parker as the best defensive guard in the 10th Region.

“They’ve got some players that definitely got some experience last year,” Brown said. “I think those three are a good setup to get started with.”

“We’re basically holding on to the whole staff,” Brown said. “It’ll be a lot of familiar faces. I don’t think it’s going to be a big transition at all for the kids. I plan on being there for a while. It was a unique opportunity. I’m extremely excited and happy to be there.”

Lloyd agreed familiar faces help with coaching changes. Brown may be the third head coach for the program in three seasons after Garren Parker stepped down after last season citing work constraints and family obligations as challenges for him to continue in that role.

“We were hoping for a smooth transition,” Lloyd said. “We feel confident in him. As long as we have our other coaches there to help us, we should be fine. Our community is really close so I feel our seniors already have that chemistry as a team. We’re just trying to make that trickle down to the rest of the team. We’re just excited to see what we can do this year.”

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Brown likes to play man-to-man defensively and run whatever offense helps Bishop Brossart score the most. That could be a season-long process. He’d prefer an up-tempo style as opposed to setting up in half-court sets because it increases the odds for turnovers.

“If you want to win big in the postseason, you have got to defend man-to-man and shut the other team down and you’ve got to score against a good man-to-man,” Brown said. “So those are the two things we’re going to work on. We’d like to go up-tempo. But we also need to be smart with the ball and not just go to go. We want them to just play free offensively and play to their strengths.”

Brown said he had to employ more zone and zone trap match-ups at Scott because of the injury situation. Brown plans to reach out to the younger programs and feeder schools to build a strong foundation. He plans to tweak some things describing the situation as a retooling as opposed to rebuilding.

“I just want them to be the best that they can be. I can only coach like I coach,” Brown said. “I don’t know if it would be like anyone else would have done. We’re going to go out and try to make it as fun for the kids as possible. I think the on-the-court stuff will take care of itself.”

Brown has been running open gyms. Tryouts generally begin Oct. 15. The first game is scheduled for Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m. against Mason County.