Brady Misses No. 300, But He's No Failure

SIDELINES

March 10, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

There are lot of reasons John Brady should retire as head boys basketball coach at Annapolis; but there are also a lot of reasons he should return for at least next season.

Those reasons and more are what the 14-year head coach will ponder over the weeks to come before making a decision.

Brady's claim that he would retire once he got 300 wins remains on hold at 298 after his Fighting Panthers dropped a 62-60 semifinal heart-breaker to Parkdale of Prince George's County at Cole Field House at the University of Maryland Thursday night.

Annapolis was at Cole to defend its state 4A championship, attempting to become the first 4A school since Northwestern of Prince George's in 1967 and 1968 to repeat as 4A (called AA back then) champ and only the third in Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association play.

Not only could have Annapolis repeated as state champion with two wins, but the team would also have given Brady his 300th career win in the finale. It just wasn't meant to be, and that bothers the fiercely competitive Brady.

"It makes you wonder if you are a failure when you have been to the final four 11 times and only won once," said a somber Brady on Friday less than 24 hours after the defeat. "I mean I have to think I'm a failure, although I don't know what else I could have doneor how much more I could have worked and prepared us to win it this year.

"Maybe, it is time to let somebody else have a chance and see if they can win it."

Can you believe a guy with a career record of 298-48, including one state championship, 11 region and 13 county titles in 14 years, could feel he's a failure?

Well, those who know Brady well can believe it because they know beneath the facade of shenanigans and humor is a coach with a fire inside of him to succeed that might only be surpassed by the likes of a Bobby Knight.

Most winning and successful coaches deplore losing even if they say they accept it. They never accept it and never forget. That's why the greatones win most of the time, but just maybe in the case of Brady, he takes it too seriously for his own good.

I'll explain that as we goalong.

First, let's discuss his being a failure because he's onlywon once in 11 tries at Cole Field House. After Thursday night's loss to Parkdale, he himself said it best, "If the criteria or barometerfor success is winning it all, then, we're all a bunch of losers.

"Because there aren't too many people who win it all, all the time."

While Brady laments his own record of being 1-for-11 at Cole Field House, consider these points. Al Laramore, the only man in the history of state sports to win state championships in three sports (football, basketball and lacrosse) won only once in seven tries at Cole Field House.

Laramore won the only other Annapolis state title in hoops in 1974, but missed the other six times. And his '74 championshipseason was the only time he made it to the final. Does that mean Laramore was a failure?

Of course not!

Brady, by the way, has beento the final a total of four times.

Also, no other county Class 4A or AA boys hoop team has won a state championship except for Annapolis. In addition, only Southern of Harwood under Tom Albright, who just completed his 26th season at a disappointing 11-11 and Arundel under the late Jerry Mears, are the only other county boys schools to winstate championships.

Albright has won a county-record four times in 1973 (Class 3A, was A), 1981, '83 and '86 as Class 2A. The Bulldogs' coach was also a state runner-up in 1972, '79 and '80. Does the fact that he hasn't made the trip to Cole since '86 and went 11-11 thisseason make him a failure?

Of course not!

Arundel won it once in 1965 as an A school, which is equivalent now to 3A. The Mears-coached Wildcats qualified for the Final Four five times, and twice before that in the '50s.

And we might add that Butch Young of Meade, who has well over 300 career wins in 26 seasons including time at Severna Park, has only been to Cole twice in 1983 and 1988 and lost in thefirst round both times. We all know that Young is far from being a failure.

Or how about the late Dick Hart, who in 28 years as Andover's only coach, took his Archers to Cole five times and was a state runner-up twice?

The only other county schools to ever make it to the Final Four are Broadneck (1986), Brooklyn Park (1966), Glen Burnie(1952 and '61), Northeast (1988), and Severna Park (1981).

With that all considered, would you say that Brady is a failure after getting there 11 times and never failing to make it to the region final (one step from Cole) in all 14 years?

It's because that Brady wants to win so badly for his kids more than himself that he blames himself. The frustrations of not winning more burn inside him, and maybe it's time he reduced the flame to a flicker for his own good.

Sometimes Brady gets very excited on the sidelines, and the outbursts combined with a recent weight gain have his friends worried.

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