Annapolis' John Brady hits victory summit, but without mom, there are tears amid cheers

Many wins, 1 big loss

February 04, 2007|By PAT O'MALLEY | PAT O'MALLEY,Sun Reporter

John Brady is nearly 60, has a grown daughter and has coached the children of players who were on his teams when he began coaching at Annapolis High School in 1977. However, he has never outgrown wanting his parents at his games.

That's why his metro area record-breaking victory as a boys basketball coach Monday was somewhat bittersweet. Two weeks before, Brady?s mother, Clara, had died at the age of 81.

Whether it was watching her son coach basketball or watching sports on TV, Clara was a fan. Most of all, though, she and her husband, John Sr., were fans of their son.

"Any success I?ve had was because my parents putme in situations growing up that I always expected to succeed," Brady said. "My parents were always very supportive of my coaching and teaching career and very proud of my accomplishments."

Annapolis' 55-54 victory over St. Mary?s on Monday gave Brady his 622nd win as boys basketball coach, moving him past Cardinal Gibbons legend Ray Mullis for most all time in the metropolitan area. Mullis was 621-346 (.642) and 10 games into his 31st season when he died in 1994.

Brady?s bond with his mother over sports began early.

"My mother came from Bermuda, where they shut down the island three days for cricket," Brady said. "But here she really got into other sports, and that influenced me. I've tried to take the good things from both my parents and use them in coaching and teaching."

At the viewing for Clara, John Sr. recalled that the couple had met in Bermuda when he was in the Marines.

"We did everything together and raised three wonderful children," John Sr. said. "How lucky I was." Brady feels the same way about having had his parents so close throughout his life. For nearly the past 20 years, Brady, his wife, Sharon, and his daughter, Erin, who attends West Virginia, have lived in Brooklyn Park next door to Brady?s parents.

"The support they gave me growing up is something that my wife, Sharon, and I have given our daughter, Erin, by attending all of her games over the years."

It's tough to overlook Brady at Annapolis games. At 6 feet 4, he has a commanding presence and an equally commanding voice.

Nick Good-Malloy, a former player and now an assistant to Brady, says he was aware of Brady?s philosophy of yelling to get his point across when he started playing for him.

"I knew what to expect and listened to the message, not how it was delivered," Good-Malloy said. "Coach Brady has a no-nonsense approach, is organized, demands discipline and expects a lot out of his players. He yells because he cares. If he's not yelling at you, you?d better be worried."

Said Lateef Williams, a guard and co-captain: "We understand Mr. Brady's style and know he wants us to succeed."

With wins Tuesday and Friday, Brady has a 624-121 record (.838) that includes 30 consecutive winning seasons and 23 seasons of 20 wins or more ? both area records. His 15 appearances in the state tournament, including a state championship in 1990, are themost by any coach.

As proud as he is of his team's accomplishments, and the fact that 83 percent of his players have gone on to attend college, Brady is just as proud of former players such as Good-Malloy, who have pursued coaching.

"Absolutely, to see good guys get into the profession makes me very proud," said Brady, a member of the Anne Arundel County Sports Hall of Fame.

There are 11 others besides Good-Malloy now coaching, plus a former team manager, Sam Golder, who had success as the Arundel coach and is now a high school principal in Delaware.

Dan Smalley and Frank Snyder, two of seven proteges of Brady's to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, are coaching the Arundel junior varsity, and Marcel Colbert heads the North Idaho Junior College team.

Fred Stauffer, who was the Annapolis athletic director for 30 years before retiring eight years ago, said he "was really impressed with Johnwhen he started."

Brady, a graduate of Mount St. Joseph and the University of Maryland, was a disciple of the late Dick Hart at Andover and was Hart?s assistant before getting the Annapolis job in 1977. Brady succeeded another county Hall of Famer in Al Laramore andwent 21-5.

"I could tell right away that he was going to be a great coach," said Stauffer, who attended the record-tying and record-breaking games. "I liked the way he handled the kids in practice. He motivates and is an excellent teacher."

Most of Brady's coaching rivals when he first started have retired or resigned, and six of the 12 county public schools have coaches with five years of experience or fewer.Eight have coaches with fewer than 10 years.

Mike Rudd, Glen Burnie's 11th-year coach, played for the Gophers against Brady, then assisted Terry Bogle, the man he succeeded. So, he knows Brady prettywell.

"The big man is an outstanding teacher and his teams are always well prepared," said Rudd, who has never won a game against Brady in his 11 years as coach.

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