Pride of the Devil
One of the best things about working in sports are the relationships one builds over time.
That goes for myself personally, but also for a plethora of coaches.
In the case of veteran Ravenswood head boys basketball coach Mick Price, things are definitely going to be different next winter.
“On a personal note, coach Don Brown, my assistant coach, is retiring from coaching,” Price said following the Red Devils’ recent Class A state title game loss to Wheeling Central. “He has already been retired as a teacher. He and I have been together for 37 years. He was instrumental in the building of these kids’ lives, from not just a basketball player, but all those kids that came under him.
“I was blessed to have someone like Don Brown. He’s not just a coach. He’s not just a friend. He’s like a brother and these kids were lucky enough to have him and the kids of Ravenswood that he coaches was lucky to have him as a tutor, something they could look up to because he helped them become young men and not just a basketball player.”
Brown, an Oceana High grad, came to Ravenswood not long after coach Price brought in Jerry Bradley, who went on to have success at Greenbrier East
“Ravenswood needed a history teacher and Don came in and started doing the freshman coaching job,” Price recalled. “We didn’t have one and I was the varsity and freshman coach. That was a lot of work, but I knew it was going to be like that.”
Prior to coach Brown’s last game against the Maroon Knights, Price looked at his longtime friend and expressed how fortunate they had been over the decades. It also didn’t hurt that 37 years later they were standing on the Charleston Civic Center floor with a chance to win another state title.
“After all the years we get to finish on a state championship game. That’s pretty special,” Price said to Brown. “Don was a great high school history teacher. He inspired students when they came into the classroom and he demanded that they really do well and he had the same values as a coach in the classroom and on the basketball court.”
When Price’s grandson Blake Bennett was born on Jan. 7 of 2000, Brown secured his only career varsity coaching triumph when the Red Devils won at Doddridge County.
“I think that’s what made him great,” Price continued of Brown. “The head coach gets all of the credit for things that happen sometimes, but everybody understands it’s your younger programs. It’s your coaches in the younger levels if they are doing it right and Don never ever wanted to do anything but be a part of our program.
“I’m telling you, those are far and few between guys like Don Brown. Someone who really wants to be there and doesn’t care about accolades, just wants the kids and the program to do it right and be successful and be inspired by that and he did it for 37 years.”
Price will be the first to tell anyone that a good program has good players, but someone has to lead the way and that’s something Brown did every single day.
“Our relationship, of course we were close,” Price added. “But it was more than just us guys being on a staff. It became like brothers.
“We’ve become very close over the years and I consider him to this day one of the best friends I’ve ever had simply because we knew each others ins and outs. We had a good rapport.”
One which I’m sure will be missed and forever cherished by both.
Contact Jay Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org