ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico Hall of Fame basketball coach Mike Brown died early Thursday morning after battling a rare form of Parkinson’s Disease. The longtime Albuquerque Academy coach was in the company of his wife of 52 years, Carol, and other family members when he passed. “He went out like he lived his life, with grace and dignity, with strength, compassion, and most importantly just thinking of others,” said son Danny Brown. “He thought of our whole family and he fought through it because he wanted to be with us and to bring us together.”
Brown had a run of six straight state championships at Academy from 1989 to 1994. Tributes from some of those former players and coaches who contributed to that success came pouring in after the news of Brown’s death became public. “His former players, former coaches, you know James Borrego, it was unbelievable,” said Danny. “I told my mom today that it was like an out-of-body experience for us, just with all the joy, because you would think a situation like that wouldn’t bring a ton of joy, but gosh it did.” Current golf analyst and four time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III played basketball for Mike Brown. He credits Brown for helping him achieve some of his success. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the heights that I reached as an athlete without people like Mike Brown in my life to encourage me and to guide me,” said Begay III. “He was so much more than a basketball coach and that especially was applicable to me.” Mike Brown was 75 years old.
In other sports news, Eastern New Mexico interviewed its fourth and final candidate for its vacant athletic director’s job Thursday. The Eastern New Mexico News reported that Tony Hobbs interviewed. Hobbs is an athletic director at NAIA member school Bethel College in Kansas. Former Lobo men’s basketball coach Paul Weir was one of the first candidates interviewed for the job. Weir said in his interview that he would apply three standards to every decision. Will it improve resources? Will it improve enrollment? Will it improve retention? ENMU could make a decision on a new athletic director as early as Friday. The decision could also come next week or later.
The NCAA voted Wednesday to allow athletes to make money off their name and likeness. At least 24 states have passed NIL laws set to go into effect, including New Mexico. “It’s a learning experience for them. I think it’s a great opportunity for them,” said UNM head football coach Danny Gonzales. “So, if there’s anything we can do to help them, I’m going to do it because that’s why they’re here. We’re here to mentor them, to help them in everything they do. They got an opportunity to sell themselves. I’m on board.”
New Mexico United hopes to rely on it’s deep depth to bounce back into the win column Wednesday night when they play at Real Monarchs. “What we have is a small roster, but from one to twenty one we have so many different variations of players that can hurt the opponents in different ways,” said NM United head coach Troy Lesesne. “We look at that for every match, not just in a Friday to Wednesday, Saturday, all on the road rotation. Really, it’s about using the quality of depth that we have.” Game time Wednesday night is 8 pm.