E.A. Sports Today

‘It takes a Bulldog’

Former Anniston player Brown approved to succeed Ware as new boys basketball coach

New Anniston basketball coach Torry Brown and his wife Deidra are introduced at the Anniston school board meeting Thursday night.

New Anniston basketball coach Torry Brown and his wife Deidra are introduced at the Anniston school board meeting Thursday night.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Anniston may have gone out of the county to hire its new boys basketball coach, but in truth it didn’t go far from home at all.

The Anniston school board Thursday approved the recommendation to hire Shelby County coach Torry Brown to follow legendary Schuessler Ware as the Bulldogs new coach.

Brown made it clear he was “an Anniston guy coming home,” not a coach from an out-of-area school coming to a new job.

He is a 1997 Anniston graduate who played the point for Bernard Howard and still lives in the city. His name was among the first to surface as a possibility when the opening was created.

“He’s a Bulldog through and through,” Anniston schools superintendent Darren Douthit said. “It takes a Bulldog to be able to lead and guide Bulldogs, that’s just the way I see it.

“He knows of the tenacity. He has it ingrained in him being a former athlete (here). That’s very, very important.”

Brown was one of three finalists for the job. Douthit declined to identify the others interviewed, but said any of them would have “been able to come in here and do the job and bring to us some entertainment here in Bulldog basketball.”

But it was Brown who got the nod. He has been a protege of former Saks coach Charles Burkett, following him to Hoover before striking out on his own in Shelby County. He lives in Anniston and has commuted to his jobs in Birmingham every day.

“I like where I work; I love where I live,” he said.

Brown, 37, was 94-63 in five years at Shelby County, with two area titles, two regional trips and a trip to the 2013 regional final.

Brown had gotten used to the long commute, having made a similar drive when he coached at Hoover with Burkett.

“It was the same distance, just a different drive, instead of interstate you go highway,” he said. “You know what, the drive was good sometimes — to cool off. But it’s always good to be home. Home is where the heart is.”

Brown replaces the longest-tenured coach in the history of the Bulldogs’ program. In 19 seasons Ware won 15 area championships, two state titles and had only one losing season.

He knows all about the pressures that come with following a legendary coach. He followed long-time coach Charles Dickinson at Shelby County.

“I think it’s fun in a sense because expectations are high,” he said. “You want anywhere you go for the expectations to be high.

“You have to be comfortable in your own skin because there always going to be comparisons and you have to stay the course in what you believe in.”

Brown hasn’t had any contact with his new players yet. He hopes that happens as early as Monday.



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