PHILADELPHIA — Brett Brown, a one-time Rockland resident, has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, a professional National Basketball Association team.
Brown — a South Portland native who lived in the Rockland area when his father, Bob, coached the varsity boys basketball program at Rockland District High School — spent seven seasons leading the 76ers and compiled a 233-358 record with the program.
After missing the playoffs his first four seasons in Philadelphia, Brown has guided the 76ers to the playoffs each of the last three seasons, losing twice in the Eastern Conference semifinals before losing in the first round this season.
“I have a tremendous level of respect for Brett both personally and professionally and appreciate all he’s done for the 76ers organization and the City of Philadelphia,” Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand said in a statement. “He did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction. This will be an important offseason for us as we look to get back on track towards our goal of competing for an NBA championship.”
“I want to thank Brett for not only what he did as our Head Coach, but for the impactful community work he and his family did across the Greater Philadelphia Area over the last seven years,” said Josh Harris, 76ers Managing Partner, in a statement. “He is a high-character coach and leader and we’re fortunate to have had him here. This is a difficult decision, but one we believe is necessary. I wish Brett and his family well.”
Rumblings of Brown's firing began Sunday afternoon, shortly after the 76ers were swept 4-0 by the Boston Celtics in the opening round of this year's NBA playoffs.
“Brett Brown is without internal momentum to return for his eighth season as coach, and a final decision could come soon,” tweeted ESPN’s Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who also broke the news of Brown’s firing early Monday evening.
This season was not the first one Brown, a Maine Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, spent on the coaching hot seat. By the end of the 2019 campaign, many within the basketball world speculated whether the 76ers would axe Brown.
In mid-March, the 2019-20 NBA season was paused as players began testing positive for COVID-19 and health experts began imploring the importance of fans staying away from games.
The 76ers, at the start of the season's suspension, boasted a 39-26 record.
Philadelphia returned to action in late July as the NBA partnered with Disney to play the remainder of the NBA season at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista sports facility in Florida.
After a trio of late July scrimmages, the 76ers concluded the regular season with a 43-30 record before dropping four straight playoff games to the Celtics.
Before accepting the Philadelphia head coaching position in 2013, Brown served as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs from 2002 to 2013.
He served as a basketball coach in Australia from 1988 to 1998 before working with the Spurs from 1998-1999. He then coached again in Australia from 2000 to 2002 before returning to the Spurs coaching staff, first as the Director of Player Development and then assistant coach ahead of the 2006-07 season.
His coaching career began in 1983 as a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater, Boston University.
Brown's contract with the 76ers ran through the 2021-22 season.