At Moment Of Individual Glory, Brady Thanks His 'Team'


December 18, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

It came as no surprise that on the night of his coaching milestone, John Brady chose to reflect on many of the people who helped him become the coach that he is today, and has been through 14 seasons.

Beneath the fiery exterior that can transform him from raving maniac tostand-up comic is a coach who believes in the never-too-old "we're ateam" philosophy.

Brady took the momentous occasion, his 300th career win Monday night, to talk about former players and coaches, family and friends, including two late, great coaches in Al Laramore and Dick Hart.

Onlytwo games into his 15th year as head coach of the Annapolis Panthersboys basketball team, John Brady has achieved 300 career wins. No. 300 came by a 75-74 score over Brady's alma mater, Mount St. Joseph ofBaltimore, almost 14 years to the day from his first win.

While he was the center of attention in a post-game ceremony that included aplaque presentation by Principal Laura Webb and Athletic Director Fred Stauffer, and a banner with "300 wins Coach Brady" and Panther paws on it, Brady could only think of the support his "team" has given him.

"I really appreciate the support I've gotten over the years here at Annapolis and certainly have to thank the players and assistantcoaches I've had over the years," said a mellow Brady, attired in a Panther maroon crew neck sweater while sitting in his office.

He also thanked his current assistants, Roy Brown and Ken Gonz, for theirhelp.

After clicking off the names of such former assistant coaches as John Makell, Roy Skiles, Leon Washington, Ed Shuttleworth, Calvin "Flipper" Vain, Ken Kazmarek, Bob Carter and the late Laramore, the Annapolis football coach whom Brady succeeded as hoops coach 15 years ago, but who came back to run the Panthers JV for one year, Brady credited many others often forgotten.

"I've got to thank Al for starting the tradition at Annapolis and laying the foundation," Brady said. "I came into a very good situation thanks to Al and Dick Hart, who got me ready for it."

Hart (330-294) was Andover's coach for 28years before dying Feb. 2 of this year. The former Andover mentor took Brady, fresh outof the University of Maryland at College Park, under his wing and taught him the finer points of man-to-man defense.

Mike Hart, Dick's son, who's now an assistant coach at Washington College on the Eastern Shore, was there Monday night to shake Brady's hand, along with other well-wishers like Kazmarek (now head boys basketball coach at Broadneck), Jack Jordan of South River and Jimmy Savage, son of Loyola High coach Jerry Savage who was Brady's JV hoops coach at Mount St. Joe.

"They were all a big part of it, and certainly, I've been fortunate to have four principals (Richard Ensor, Ken Nichols, Ken Catlin and Laura Webb) who have been behind me all the way," said the silver-haired coach.

"I've never had any problems withany of (the principals) and Fred Stauffer (Annapolis athletic director for the last 19 years) has always been very cooperative. And my family has always supported me in all 22 years of coaching."

Brady'smother and father, John and Clare, have attended most of their son'sgames in his 15 years at Annapolis and seven years as JV coach at Andover.

"My father told me tonight he's never coming again," laughed Brady, after the Gaels got off a desperation shot at the buzzer that fell only a couple feet short.

"I hope they're not all going to be like that," his father said.

The coach cited the importance of family support as another reason for his extraordinary success in becoming the fourth coach in county basketball history to reach the 300-win plateau, but the fastest to do it. His career record of 300-50 easily gives him the highest winning percentage in county history at .857.

"My mom and dad have always been there and my wife (Sharon) has been very understanding during basketball season, never putting anypressure on me," said Brady.

"She knows there is a lot of pressure on me during the season, so she doesn't put any undue pressure on me and expect me to do things like pick up my clothes."

It was Dec.9, 1977 at old Annapolis High that Brady notched the first of his 300 victories, 84-60, over Bel Air of Harford County. Dan Ruland, who would go on to star at James Madison University and later play in Europe, poured in 24 points.

Two Jeff Browns, David Kirby and Len Knight played on that team, which Brady calls his "most talented."

"I remember that team and game well," he said. "It was at the old schooland Jeff Bullis (of Bel Air) was on that team and we played very well. We had just gotten our brains beat in by St. John's (D.C.) in the first game I coached. We lost by 19 points, so that first win felt good." Brady's first team went 21-5, winning county and region titles before losing to Winston Churchill of Montgomery County in the state semis, 85-78, in March 1978.

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