Former NBA Standout Damone Brown Leads Way for Bryant&Stratton Bobcats!

The famed name in all of Western New York, Damone Brown, is no stranger to success on the basketball court. From being named 1st Team All-Yale Cup, to Yale Cup Player of the Year, to 1st Team All-WNY as a high school standout at Seneca Vocational, to four year letter winner at Syracuse University and being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2001 NBA Draft, Damone Brown has proven time and time again that basketball is not only a sport to be played with strategy and passion but has also shown that the game of basketball is to be used as a vehicle of transportation from one opportunity to another.

In the early portion of 2018, Bryant and Stratton College announced that it was in search of a Head Coach for it’s Men’s Basketball program. “In early February, a friend of mine was on Facebook and posed the question ‘Does anybody know of any coaches? So I in-boxed her and asked her if she was talking about Men’s Basketball, 30 minutes later, I got a phone call” said Damone.

Finishing up the 2017-2018 Men’s Basketball season at Villa Maria College where Damone Brown was an assistant coach, the talks between Bryant and Stratton College and Damone Brown were very preliminary. In March of 2018, Brown was officially named the Head Coach of the Bryant and Stratton College Bobcats, making him the first coach for the Bobcats since they won the National Little College Athletic Association (NLCAA) in 1974 under the leadership of head coach Tom Griffin, brother of Jimmy Griffin, former mayor of Buffalo.

Head Coach Brown’s most recent opportunity is one that has been in the works and was definitely an aspiration and goal of his. Says Brown, “Whenever you do something, you want to be the best at it. I want to work my way up that ladder, get back to the professional level and coach in the NBA. For right now, I want to start here. I want to learn my craft and move up the ladder to higher level collegiate coaching.”

Brown recently served as an assistant coach for three seasons at Villa Maria College. As an assistant, he helped guide Villa Maria with back-to-back trips to the national tournament, in 2017 making it to the Elite 8 and in 2018 making it to the championship game.

Having had a chance to watch the Bobcats in practice, you can easily understand why after 9 games in their first season, they shot out to a 6-3 record. The student-athletes for the Bobcats are tough, aggressive and hungry, and have a desire to learn and improve as basketball players.

Coach Brown described his elite knowledge of the game of basketball and coaching at an amateur level as a delicate balance “Me as a player, I know what I want or know what it’s supposed to be and how it’s supposed to be done. When you’re coaching guys who aren’t as experienced, you have to break it down for them, explain to them and show them the reasoning as to why you want this or that done a certain way. You have to teach and that’s where the teaching and patience in trying to get these guys to understand comes into play.”

Also adding to Coach Brown’s early success is his support system. “A great staff is key, he said, If the chemistry is good, we can bounce different ideas off of each other in regard to what we are trying to accomplish. More times than not, we are thinking the same things, but we have different approaches of how to get there and you need that balance.”

Coach Brown’s assistants are well-known basketball minds, friends and colleagues, Al Parker and Phil Jones.

Parker, who has over 20 years of basketball experience both playing and coaching at the high school and college level, most recently worked alongside Coach Brown as assistants to Don Silveri for the Villa Maria Men’s Basketball team. Parker helped orchestrate back-to-back sectional championships and a state finals appearance during his tenure at Sweet Home High School.

Jones played basketball at Seneca Vocational High where he obtained two Yale Cup Championships, and was the All-Time leading scorer. He began his college career as a Point Guard at Monroe Community College and after two years, he led his team to a National Championship and finished in the “elite eight,” he played for University of Buffalo under the great Reggie Weatherspoon and also played at Daemen College where he again went to the National Championship finishing in the Final Four. Jones was inducted into the Daemen Athletics Hall of Fame and after his college career, played overseas professionally in Seoul, Korea, and Japan.

In describing how it feels to have the opportunity to develop a program from the ground up at the collegiate level, Head Coach Damone Brown responded by saying “Its new! Having the opportunity to run your own program is new. You’re nervous at first, but when you realize that it’s a brand new program with no players, no jerseys, and no basketballs, you realize that you’re starting and building your own program. It’s exciting to have the opportunity to do something like that.”

With the majority of the student-athletes on the team being veteran players having played at the college level in some fashion prior to their first season with the Bobcats, Head Coach Brown says, “I tell my players everyday, there are thousands and thousands of young players who wish they had the opportunity that you have right now. You have to take advantage of it. Don’t take your opportunities for granted because it definitely can be here today and gone tomorrow. If you love the game, go out there and compete everyday and compete your hardest while leaving it all on the floor.”

The most important perspective that Head Coach Damone Brown possesses is a perspective of gratitude and paying it forward. “I coach because I love the game! I mean I really love the game. This game has shown me so much. It has taken me a lot of different places. I’ve met people who I probably would’ve never met in my lifetime, I’ve made lifetime friends, I love the competition, I love everything about it. Me giving that back to the players, and providing them an opportunity to travel outside of Buffalo and play this game, it’s all worth it.”

The Bryant and Stratton Bobcats have started out 6-3. They are currently ranked #3 in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division 1 Coaches Poll.

Congratulations Head Coach Damone Brown! The City of Buffalo and WNY is extremely proud of you and all of your accomplishments. As you strive for bigger and better we will be striving right with you! You’ve Got Odds2Beat!

Bobcats play their home games at the Erie Community College Burt Flickinger Athletic Center in downtown Buffalo. Their next home game is Saturday January 5th at 1:00 p.m. against Cleveland .

You can find the full

Bobcats schedule on their school website at

www.buffalo. bscbobcats.com.

At The Point Columnist and Student-Athlete Advocate Gregory L. Gamble II