The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff named Dawn Brown as women’s head basketball coach at a news conference Tuesday afternoon in front of a room full of alumni, students and fans.
Golden Lions athletic director Melvin Hines said that the vacancy brought numerous applications, resumes and phone calls, but at the end of the day he knew Brown was the right fit for the program.
“We had a lot of people interested in UAPB. The number of phone calls I received from people who wanted to know more about UAPB caused us to put together a search committee,” Hines said.
“We knew we had the right lady to lead our young women into the future. We know she is a championship coach. She has won championships as a player, she has won championships as an assistant coach, and she has won championships as a head coach.”
Hines continued: “We always say it is rough in the SWAC. Well, she grew up in the SWAC, so she understands what it means that it is rough in the SWAC. She has graduated student-athletes and never had issues with APR in 10 years as a head coach.”
Hines said that Brown made great connections with the team when she was able to meet with them during the interview process.
“As we went through this process we gave all of the candidates access to our student-athletes to give them an opportunity to sit down with our present team,” Hines. The connections that she made on that visit was unbelievable.”
Brown met with her team before the press conference and said that she felt like she was at home when she met with the team.
“It has been an amazing day,” said Brown. “I got up extremely early, did some meditating, and had time to really be thankful for this opportunity. I did have some time to meet with the team this morning, and it really felt good. It felt like being at home when I met with them this morning, so I am really, really excited.”
Brown noted what made her realize that UAPB was the job for her.
“When I came on campus and had the opportunity to interact with some of the other coaches, as well as the athletic director, it felt like I had been here before,” Brown said. “It felt like we were familiar with each other, and these were people I had never met. Everyone just embraced me and my family, and it was a great feeling. We share a lot of the same visions, so it just felt right. The feeling was just surreal to me.”
During her press conference, Brown noted that she would hit the recruiting trail hard in search of women’s basketball players who will be the right fit for UAPB.
“Everybody wants to play this ... fast-paced offense where you push the ball as fast as possible. We want to be a little longer, we want to be bigger, and we want to be tough, but I think the biggest thing is making sure we can get the right fit,” Brown said.
“We won’t really look at a style of play. We want to make sure we can build relationships within the community, with their families, with the surrounding areas, and we want to make sure we can bring in the right fit. We want them to buy into what we are trying to do academically, what we are trying to do athletically, and then we will put the pieces together. I think the hardest part is making sure you have got the right fit. You will be able to find some of those fits right here in your own back yard.”
Brown also noted some of the things that she and the coaching staff will have to do in order to see early success, both on and off of the court.
“One of the biggest things we have to do is establish culture,” Brown said. “I think that the ladies and the whole program needed a facelift. Allowing them to buy into hard work and discipline, and it will definitely be a family atmosphere. Getting them to open their hearts to receive what it is that we need to do, and that is going to consist of a lot of hard work, a lot of discipline, and the girls are just going to have to buy in. I think they have already started doing that.”
DAWN BROWN’S RESUME
Brown won the 2014 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship while leading Prairie View A&M University and is a former SWAC student-athlete, comes to UAPB after spending the previous season as associate head coach at Jacksonville University of the Atlantic Sun Conference. In 2017-18, Brown was head coach at Division II Shorter University of the Gulf South Conference.
Brown spent six seasons at Prairie View A&M (2010-16) as a part of the winningest era in program history. As an assistant coach, the Lady Panthers won SWAC Tournament Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013, advancing to the NCAA Tournament every year.
Upon being named interim head coach prior to the 2013-14 season, Brown continued the winning legacy, leading PVAMU to first-time wins over Houston and Sam Houston State while leading the Lady Panthers to their fourth consecutive SWAC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. She was named full-time head coach after the season, and in three seasons as head coach, PVAMU won 41 games, including 30 victories in SWAC play in advancing to the conference tournament in each year.
A Jackson, Miss. native, Brown began her collegiate coaching career as recruiting coordinator at Tougaloo College (2008-09). As a player, Brown was a two-time captain at Atlanta Metropolitan College, leading the team to back-to-back GJCAA Tournament appearances. She completed her playing her career at Jackson St., leading the Lady Tigers to a SWAC Regular Season Co-Championship.
Brown earned her degree in bachelor’s degree in sociology and her master’s degree in Health, Physical Education, and Recreation from Jackson State. She is the proud mother of a son, Camden Lyon.