A Fighting Illini legend is officially returning to the basketball program. On Wednesday morning, Illinois announced that Dee Brown will serve as the program's new Director of Player Development and Alumni Relations. Brown, who retired from professional basketball last Spring, had been working for the DIA as a Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics for the past year.
Brown is one of the most decorated players in Illinois history. He 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.
Here's a quick rundown of what his responsibilities will be:
Brown's duties with the Illini will include scheduling and coordinating all student-athlete life skills enhancement opportunities and community service participation, providing off-the-court guidance to players during their collegiate careers and beyond, coordinating video materials, contributing to on-campus recruiting-related activities and directing correspondence with high school coaches, and representing the program at various public and alumni events.
In addition, Brown also will lead alumni relations for the program, focusing on increased communication and engagement with previous players along with planning and coordinating Illini basketball alumni events in concert with the Varsity "I" Association.
Statement from Dee Brown
"I am so excited to begin this next chapter in my career. I thought my love for this University couldn't exceed what it was when I played here, but my experience over this last year has only strengthened it. I believe in the vision that Coach Groce has for our program, and my role will be to help our players become the best they can be, on the basketball court and in all facets of life."
Statement from John Groce
"Dee Brown's passion for the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini Athletics is unmatched. He stands as one of the greatest to ever play here, but anyone who knows Dee knows that he does not rest upon past accomplishments. He is committed to paying it forward as a mentor to our current student-athletes. He has a tremendous future in the coaching profession and we are thrilled to welcome him to our staff as we work collectively in building a championship program."