Ex-Albuquerque High and Lobo player trying to build program at Bosque
Greg Brown remembers fondly his glory days – the unique vibe of Bulldog City, followed in college by all those memorable trips down that ramp just a couple of miles up the road.
But these days, the former Lobo point guard is about a thousand figurative miles from those basketball communes that watched him dazzle at Albuquerque High and later at the Pit.
Now pushing 40, but with that trademark smile and energy that UNM fans came to adore, Brown remains tethered to the sport he loves and is making his mark in one of the most unlikely places one can imagine:
Coaching girls basketball at Bosque School.
“A lot of people ask me that question,” Brown said, asked why he chose to coach girls over boys. “I’m not looking for a boys job. I’m totally interested in girls basketball. For me, it’s just something I like to do.”
The first reason, he said, is his 12-year-old hoops-playing daughter, Amaya.
The second reason traces back to Hobbs, where he spent two seasons at New Mexico Junior College sandwiched between AHS and UNM.
“My freshman year, I saw Sheryl Swoopes at South Plains Junior College, and she’s one of the best players in the history of women’s basketball,” said Brown, who has served as a boys assistant at Menaul and West Mesa. “The whole conference was like that. I never saw girls play basketball like that.”
He has been coaching a girls’ club team in the offseason, the New Mexico Select, for the past few years. And he’s a season-ticket holder for the UNM women. He said it was only natural he transition to the high school ranks.
Although, Bosque School couldn’t be more of a polar opposite than what he grew up with as a player.
“It’s been a challenge,” Brown, 39, said. “I really like Bosque; I really like the kids. The big challenge is that (a majority of the) kids have not played basketball before. I want to try to get us to be competitive and have people be enthusiastic about basketball.”
The Bobcats surely are hanging tough. They are 9-13 after a loss Thursday to Estancia.
The Bosque boys have enjoyed tremendous success of late, but it hasn’t happened with the girls. This program has only one senior, no junior varsity, and has been rotating coaches in and out on a more regular basis than the school would prefer. Still, Bosque’s players like their future with Brown showing them the way.
“It’s really such an honor to have him coach, because he knows everything about basketball,” said sophomore guard Louisa Mackenzie, the team’s best player. “He just spills knowledge.”
By day, Brown is the center manager at the Cesar E. Chavez Community Center in the Southeast Heights. The Bobcats’ former athletic director, Craig Snow, who is now on Steve Alford’s coaching staff at UNM, hired Brown.
“He wanted someone who was passionate about girls basketball,” Brown said, “and could get them to look like a basketball team. When we go out there, we look like a basketball team. And I am proud of that. What I’m trying to do is have kids play for the love of the game. That will take you a long way.”
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal