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Dee Brown retires from professional basketball, will join Illinois athletic department as full-time special assistant

The Illinois legend has decided to stay in Champaign for the foreseeable future.

Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images

In a press release issued on Tuesday night, Mike Thomas announced that Illinois basketball legend Dee Brown will become a full-time employee of the athletic department following a temporary role this Summer. Brown, who had originally planned to return overseas to continue his professional career, announced his retirement from the game in order to take up this position.

Statement from Mike Thomas:

"Dee has great passion for the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini athletics," Thomas said. "He did an exceptional job with us this summer and we are pleased to expand his role to full-time capacity. Dee's enthusiasm and desire to see our student-athletes and teams become the best will be a great driving force as we continue to improve across all areas as a department."

Statement from Dee Brown:

"I was blessed to play the game of basketball professionally for many years, but felt this was the right time to make the transition to a career off the court," Brown said. "I can't think of a better situation than to be able to be around my family more while working for the school I love, the University of Illinois. The opportunity this summer has only strengthened my feelings for Illinois; it's exciting to be back on campus assisting my alma mater."

The former Illinois star was named the 2005 Sporting News National Player of the Year and was the winner of the 2006 Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nation's top point guard. During Brown's junior season the Illini won a program-record 37 games on the way to an appearance in the 2005 NCAA Championship game. Brown went on to be named a consensus First-Team All American and swept Big Ten Player of the Year and Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Ten years after his last game wearing the Orange and Blue, Brown remains the winningest player in Illinois history (114 career victories). He also ranks third all-time in career points (1,812 points), second in career steals (231 steals), and third in career assists (674 assists).

Per the release, Brown will maintain his current role as Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics. His duties will include:

  • Representing the Director of Athletics and Illinois Athletics at a variety of campus and off-campus functions and meetings
  • Relationship building with campus administrators and local and regional business leaders and donors.
  • Outreach efforts and fundraising.
  • Assisting in the recruiting process across all sports
  • Serving as a mentor for current student-athletes in all sports while
  • Developing and growing successful relationships with former Fighting Illini.


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