Athletic Director Sam Brown couldn’t quit coaching. He’s done it for too long. Thirty-nine consecutive years of his life had been spent interacting with athletes, and in 2010, after retiring from teaching, Brown decided to continue his coaching career at East.
The athletic director (AD) position has given Brown a chance to connect with athletes. He can coach while making a difference in every coach and athlete’s life. Being the athletic director gave him that chance.
“I enjoy getting to know the athletes through the [AD] job,” Brown said. “I can make sure that everyone has a positive attitude, whether they are winning or losing.”
Brown’s wide knowledge of sports and the value behind being involved in them is rooted in his own experience.
Brown went to college at the University of Missouri where he played three sports—basketball, baseball and football. After college, he started coaching at his former high school, Excelsior Springs in Missouri.
“I was a 24-year-old head football coach, coaching 18-year-olds,” Brown said. “Even though I was young, they still chose me for the job.”
Brown went on to coach for William Jewell College and numerous other high schools in Kansas and in Missouri before coming to East. This is Brown’s second year as the assistant football coach at East. The AD position opened up in late May this year, and head football coach Chip Sherman notified Brown about the position, encouraging him to apply for the job. After an interview process and evaluation, Brown was selected for the job at the end of June, taking former AD Jeremy Higgins’ place.
Brown previously held the position of athletic director at Shawnee Mission North, where he learned how to balance the responsibilities of an AD and coach.
“Being an athletic director and coach wouldn’t be easy,” Higgins said. “Between attending the practices and other sporting events, it would be hard.”
Brown knew that it was possible to do both jobs because of his past experiences. While being the AD takes time, he makes sure that he dedicates equal time to his players. He attends every football practice and game, while also attending other sporting events at East.
“If I wouldn’t have been [the AD and coach] before, I’m not sure if I would have known what I was getting into,” Brown said.
Brown is the only AD in the district that is also a coach. The district has made an exception this year—as far as next year, he doesn’t know if he will be able to do both jobs.
Brown feels that he has a responsibility to hold the position of the athletic director.
“I think that I have a lot of experience and I can use that to make the program better,” Brown said.
Brown has additional responsibilities of the AD. His main responsibility is to make sure that coaches follow the Sunflower League and the Kansas High School Activity Association rules. One of his goals this year is to attend at least one game of every sport. For the fall season, Brown has attended each sport.
“[The AD position] is the perfect job, I feel like I have died and gone to heaven,” Brown said.