Exclusive: Dee Brown on Why He Left Illini Basketball, His Future Plans


dee brown

The immortal artist Paul Gaugin once said “one must do whatever is necessary to create.” Former Illini basketball great Dee Brown embodied that philosophy during his playing career, as he did whatever it took to create opportunities for both his teammates and himself on the offensive end.

He won the 2006 Bob Cousy Award (nation’s best point guard) his senior season, capping an Illinois career which included a national title game appearance, first team All-American status and a B1G Player of the Year Award. These days, Brown is again doing whatever is necessary to try and create the coaching career he seeks.

dee brown

That includes leaving his alma mater and dream school if needs be.

On Friday night, Brown attended his first official University of Illinois event since resigning his position at the school last October. Brown is part of the University’s first ever Athletics Hall of Fame class, and the Inaugural gala was held Friday night at the Field Museum of Natural History.

When he resigned last fall the University issued a statement, and Dee Brown himself posted a series of Tweets from his verified account (@DeeBrown11) explaining his departure. In this exclusive interview, he spoke about his abruptly leaving the school. To our knowledge this may or may not be the first time he’s spoken publicly about leaving U of I.

“It was just personal reasons, the timing of it,” he responded when we asked him why he left.

“It was a good time for me and family to step away, and the door is always open. The door is always open, one day I’ll be back at the University of Illinois.”

dee brown

As you can see from his Twitter display name “Coach Dee Brown”, coaching is what he’s all about these days, and that career path wasn’t going to seemingly develop for him at Illinois.

We asked Dee Brown if that career track was simply not going to open up for him with the Illini.

“Yes, I think for me,” he responded. “Now I’m taking another route, I’m going to go and get a coaching position, learn how to do it and hopefully one day come back to the University of Illinois.”

“I’m definitely going to keep building my resume and get the experience I need to be a coach.”

The Maywood native has now relocated to Chicago, where he currently works in business development and training development.

“I probably have 20 kids who I train, I just try to stay around basketball as much as I can,” he said.

He went on to say that coaching at Illinois someday would be his dream job. He initially joined the Illinois athletic department in July of 2015 as a special assistant to then Athletic Director Mike Thomas. In April of 2016 he became men’s basketball Director of Player Development and Alumni Relations.

He does have one coaching position on his resume, as he served as U18 technical director for the Shandong Golden Dragons, a pro team based in Jinan, a city in the Shandong province of China.

Audio of the Dee Brown exclusive is below:

Brown played for another pro team in that Chinese state, the Qingdao DoubleStar, from 2010-11. He also played for nine more professional teams overseas, and three in the NBA during his pro career.

During his four years on campus, Illinois led the nation in total wins.

Additionally, you can listen to audio of the Dee Brown group availability interview session below. He discussed a whole host of topics, including the career prospects of his close friend and former teammate Deron Wiliams. You’ll probably recognize the third voice in this clip, Brian Barnhart, voice of the Illini.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington TimesNBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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