If ever someone was born with coaching in his blood, it’s Garrett Brown.
The 2000 Centennial High graduate spent more than his fair share of time on a basketball court watching his father Keith Brown patrol the sidelines as a college coach the past 33 years.
Now it’s Garrett’s time to shine, albeit at the high school level, as the new varsity boys basketball coach at Bakersfield Christian.
“Those are big shoes to fill,” said Brown of his father, who was an assistant and head basketball coach at Cal State Bakersfield for 13 seasons, and has served as an assistant at New Mexico State, UNLV and Fresno State the past nine years. “If I could be half as good a coach as my pops then I’m doing really well for myself.”
Garrett began to follow in his father’s footsteps shortly after finishing his playing career at Bakersfield College and Grand Canyon.
He got his start coaching the Bakersfield High frosh/soph team in 2007, and two years later moved to Liberty High as a varsity assistant for two years.
But the needs of his growing family, and his want to spend more time with his wife Kianna and four kids — now ages 11, 7, 5 and 4 — led him to leave coaching.
”I had aspirations of being a college coach growing up, but when I started having kids, I just wanted to see them every day,” Brown said. “My dad always provided for us growing up, but he missed a lot of stuff because he had games and practices and then recruiting, it’s year-round. So that kinda stopped me from wanting to do that.”
Circumstances changed when former Garces High standout Kyle Shiloh, a close friend of Brown, was named the BCHS coach. Brown returned to the bench as his assistant, helping the Eagles to a pair of league titles and two straight appearances in the Central Section Division IV title game.
When Shiloh resigned following last season to open a new sports facility in town, Brown was an easy choice as his replacement.
“There is really nobody else I’d be comfortable with taking over,” said Shiloh of Brown. “He knows what he’s doing and he truly cares about the kids.”
Despite the increase in responsibility as a head coach and with a job as a juvenile corrections officer that requires him to travel to Kernville and back each day, Brown says he’s up for the challenge.
“I just wanted to be there for the guys that have been there since they were freshmen,” Brown said. “I didn’t want to leave them hanging. Without someone that they’re used to and have to go through a major coaching change. I love (coaching), it’s my passion, too. But I love those kids. They play their butt off for me and it’s something I needed to do.”
That’s something he learned from watching his father, as well.
“My relationship with all the kids is great,” Brown said. “Being in coach’s son it’s trying to model my style after my pops, he was always a great people person. He always says its about relationships, and building those relationships, with your players, the stronger your relationship is with them then the harder they are going to play for you.”