Like the humble coach he is, Ron Brown hasn’t dwelled much on his latest approaching milestone.
Centralia High School’s longtime boys basketball coach — in his 54th season and the state’s winningest active coach — is closing in on his 700th career victory.
“People keep reminding me of it,” said the 80-year-old Brown, who has 698 wins. “I don’t consider it the greatest achievement of my life, but it will be nice to have it over with.”
But first up, as he’s quick to point out, is earning a victory Friday night at Hoquiam before his first crack at career win No. 700 at home against Rochester at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Brown’s career record is 698-514 — all with the Tigers — and he is third all time for victories behind Ed Pepple (952 wins) and Pat Fitterer (727), who retired in March. Two of Brown’s biggest coaching highlights are his 1979 and ’81 state titles.
Centralia athletic director Scott Chamberlain said a postgame ceremony will occur after the 700th victory game, or at the first home game following the milestone win should it happen on the road. If Class 2A Centralia (4-4) loses Friday at 1A Hoquiam (6-2), a win against 2A Rochester (2-6) Saturday makes next Tuesday’s home date with Prairie (5-5) another shot at 700. On Jan. 9, Centralia travels to 3A Columbia River at 7:30 p.m.
With zero starters back from last year’s 2A Evergreen Conference championship squad, Brown said he’s more pleased than surprised at his team’s current record, which includes wins over 3A North Thurston and Marysville-Pilchuck. His team also scored a season-best 94 points in a 20-point victory over Lindbergh on Dec. 27.
“I’m pleased with how well we’re playing,” he said. “We have not arrived. … We’re going to get a lot better.”
Brown’s son, Tim Brown, in his 22nd season as North Thurston’s boys coach and who played for his father at Centralia in the 1980s, is in awe of what the Tigers’ coach has done. A local citizen recently praised Tim on his own longevity as the Rams’ coach, but he simply shrugged it off.
“That’s nothing,” said Tim Brown, who has 258 career wins. “That pales in comparison to what he’s done.
“It’s incredible what he’s accomplished.”