Randolph, UT – After 20 years leading the Rich Rebel boys basketball team onto the hardwood, Coach Ashley Brown retired from coaching, deciding to tip off a new season of life.
“I just felt like it was time for me to step down and do something different,” he said. “It will be different. You know, I’ve done it for 20 years and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. We’ve had some great athletes go through here. I’ve had some great assistant coaches so I’ll miss it but it’s time for somebody else to do it.”
Brown began coaching at Rich High School in the mid-90’s and was an assistant for six years before taking over as head coach at the turn of the century. In his first season 2000-01, the Rebels won the state consolation bracket, a precedent for his two decades as the bench leader. In his 20 years, the Rebel boys only twice failed to finish in the top eight. In the 2014-15 school year, Brown and the Rebels won the football state championship and followed that up on the hardwood with a 22-4 overall record and a 65-45 win over Green River for Rich High School’s only boys basketball state title.
“A lot of that credit goes to the kids though,” said Brown. “We had a very good bunch of kids. They played well together. They were good athletes, they worked really hard at the sport. So most of the credit goes to them, they were the ones out there playing. I was just sitting on the sideline watching. But it’s been great. It was a great moment, something I’ll never forget, and I enjoyed every minute of it.”
Coach Brown finishes his coaching career just outside the top 10 in UHSAA history for most wins at the same school. His teams’ consistency cannot be overstated. Beginning with the 2003-04 campaign, when the Rebels finished 8th, through the 2018-19 season, the Rich High boys team never finished lower than 8th and competed in 10 consecutive state semifinals from 2008 through 2017.
Brown’s consistency of success on the court is matched by his insistence that others deserve the credit as much as, if not more than, he does. “We had good kids and they loved the sport and they dedicated themselves to the sport,” he said. “They’re the ones that are out there. I’ve had great assistant coaches which deserve a lot of the credit.”
He knows he’ll miss many aspects of coaching, “just being with the kids, being with the assistant coaches, being with the other coaches around the state. Coach (Lee) Gines (Tabiona boys basketball coach) texted me before each game telling me he’s got his Coke and popcorn ready to watch. You know, so just things like that.”
A large portion of his coaching legacy, aside from the state championships and longevity of successes on the court and gridiron, will forever be the way he coached. He worked hard to do more than merely coach the games, instilling respect, integrity, sportsmanship, and lessons his players could use the rest of their lives.
“I think that’s the biggest thing about sports is that’s one way that you’re able to do that,” he said. “We expected the kids to play hard, to play with respect. And that’s things that they’re going to have to be able to do in life. Not everything’s going to be able to go their way and they’re going to deal with challenges and hopefully we taught them that the game of basketball, the game of football, is the same as life – you’re not going to get everything you want and you gotta work hard for what you get. Hopefully the kids that have played for us have learned that and I think if they have, they’ll be very successful.”
Brown also coached the Rich High football team for 18 seasons, winning 129 games and 3 state titles (2002, 2009, 2014), including undefeated seasons in ’02 and ’09. On the football field, Brown’s teams qualified for the semifinals in 14 of his 18 seasons including 11 in a row from 2006 through 2016.
The Rich School Board accepted Brown’s retirement as basketball coach at its most recent board meeting (Thursday, April 16) and has begun a search to replace coach Brown within the coming weeks.
Coach Brown continues to teach 5th grade at South Rich Elementary.
Listen to the full interview with Coach Ashley Brown here: