Brown Taking a Leave of Absence as Tigers’ Coach
HEALTH CONCERNS: Longtime Centralia Boys Hoops Coach Made Decision on Sunday to Step Away for Remainder of Season
By Aaron VanTuyl
Centralia High School boys basketball coach Ron Brown has announced he’ll take a leave of absence from his coach duties for the remainder of the season.
The long-tenured Tiger coach made the decision on Sunday, when he met with Centralia principal Josh Lowe and athletic director Scott Chamberlain. Chamberlain sent out a press release with the announcement Monday afternoon.
Brown, 82, said health concerns were at the root of the decision.
“I just haven’t felt good all year. I have really felt cruddy lately, and as a result I just don’t think I’ve been doing a very good job,” Brown said on Monday. “I think it would be better for the kids, and probably better for my health, if I got away from it.”
Brown, in his 56th year as Centralia’s head coach, was quick to clarify that the health concerns were not life-threatening.
“I don’t want any readers to think I’m near death’s door,” he said. “I got a lousy heart. It may get me sometime; I think they usually do. It’s just anything you get when you get my age, along with a bad heart, you kind of don’t handle it as well.”
Brown mentioned that he was considering the move to his wife, Janet, on Saturday night. He met with the administrators and his players on Sunday.
“I woke up this morning, and I felt lousy, and I was almost glad I still felt lousy,” Brown said. “If I felt great I’d almost kick myself for doing it.”
Assistant coach Kyle Donahue, a Centralia graduate, will take over head coaching duties for the remainder of the season.
“He’s got a really good head and thinks clearly, so he’ll be great,” Brown said. “He’s got good other people around him. I think they’ll do great, and the kids, I hope they respond favorably and kind of rally.”
Brown said he will re-evaluate the situation at the end of this season to determine whether or not he’ll return for the 2017-18 season.
Brown, originally from Forks, took over as the Tigers’ head coach in 1961 after two years as an assistant. His tenure has featured two state championships (1979 and 1981) and seven additional state trophies, along with seven more appearances in the state tournament. He has twice been honored as the Washington State Coach of the Year, received the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches Association Section Eight Distinguished Service Award for Boys Basketball in 1999, and was inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2006. Centralia High School’s gym was renamed Ron Brown Court in 2008, and he’s currently third on the all-time coaching wins list in Washington with 722 victories.
Centralia is 6-5 this year, and will play at Black Hills on Tuesday.