SouthfieldJune 19, 2012
Brown content as he steps away after 30 years with Southfield Christian
By Mike Moore
C & G Staff Writer
Ken Brown, pictured in 2007 after his 500th career victory, is presented with a cake from his wife, Sue. Brown retired this spring with a 590-264 record.
SOUTHFIELD — He rattled off facts, hypothesis and details of what was and what could have been in his final game as a head coach.
Just days in his memory, it’s not likely Ken Brown will forget how close he came to yet another district title with the Southfield Christian softball team.
Asked about his first game ever, though, he just laughed.
“You know, I’ve actually got the book,” he said. “I remember it, but the book will certainly help.”
The year was 1982, and Brown and his girls took on Huron Valley Lutheran in a game that would forever shape his mindset as a head coach.
“We lost 19-13, gave up 12 hits and walked 23 batters,” he said as if the game was played yesterday. “That game drove me to change my thoughts on any of my teams. We were going to forever focus on pitching, and more over, make sure we had pitchers that threw strikes.”
Some 30 years later, Brown has officially called it quits on a career that saw nearly 600 wins and countless other accolades.
“It’s time,” he said when asked why he’s retiring from the game. “I’m at the point in my life where I need to step aside and let someone else do this.”
The Eagles closed out the 2012 season in a 6-5, extra-inning loss to Royal Oak Shrine in a Division 4 district final.
“A very hard ending, to be honest,” Brown said about the game, the 854th of his career at Southfield Christian. “We were ahead and had squandered a few chances to make the game more to our advantage. Then we allow the late home run, Shrine forces extra innings and gets a few hits to take the lead. We had some bad breaks when we had a chance to tie the game again, and that was it.
“It’s a disappointing end to the year, but we’ll move on. You have to,” he added. “You love the game so much, so you want to keep going, keep battling, but I’ve reached the point where it’s time for me to walk away from it.”
Brown leaves behind quite a legacy.
In 30 years with the program, he compiled a 590-264 record.
The Eagles won 16 conference titles in that time, 19 districts, including 14 in a row before losing in this year’s final, and also reached the state quarterfinals five times.
Still, when asked what he’ll miss most, Brown said nothing about wins, losses or team titles.
“Truthfully, it’s the interaction with coaches, the players and other teams,” he said. “The people you come in contact with over the years makes this very bittersweet. I’ll still see those people, but it’s at a whole different level. I’m an observer now. … I’ll still be around the game, and do work with the coaches association and things like that, but as far as being on the bench and doing the coaching job, I’m ready to move on.”
He’ll always wonder “what if?” as he looks back on his final year, especially the final game.
This was a team, he believed, that had a chance to make a long run, possibly even end up in Battle Creek for a shot at the whole prize.
But most of all, he can’t help but laugh at what would have happened had his girls held on and beat Shrine.
“In the regional final,” he began with a laugh, “we would have played Huron Valley Lutheran.”