Middletown’s Brown is Female Athletic Coach of the Year – Lake County Record-Bee

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MIDDLETOWN — Andy Brown won’t be returning to coach Middletown High School’s women’s basketball team for a fourth season, but he’s coming out on top after leading the Mustangs to a 2021-22 banner campaign .

Brown, the Mustangs’ junior varsity coach before taking charge of the varsity program in 2019-20, is the Lake County Record-Bee Coach of the Year for Women’s Sports for the 2021-22 sports season.

His time at Middletown was difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted just as his freshman college season was winding down. Although the Mustangs finished their full schedule, they lost their entire 2020-21 campaign to the pandemic as the Coastal Mountain Conference, which includes all schools in Lake County, canceled all fall sports and winter (except cross-country, which has been moved to late spring winter).

While last season also felt the impact of the pandemic, with many games postponed and a few cancelled, the Mustangs weathered a tough pre-season schedule before heading the North Central League I table, with records of 13-0 and 19-6 overall.

Brown’s team beat a tough Fort Bragg team three times, including 31-28 in the first round of the North Coast Section’s Division 4 playoffs. The Mustangs then fell to Gateway in the quarterfinals. Few Lake County Division 4 women’s teams have made it past the first round in recent years.

In his two full seasons as head coach, Brown coached the Mustangs to a 35-16 overall record, including a 24-3 league mark and two playoff appearances.

Brown said several factors helped make Middletown’s 2021-22 season special, including a talented roster that included starters at all levels – seniors like Paige Astley, juniors like Jaidyn Brown, students sophomores as Amanda Hart and rookie Mia Hoogendoorn.

“We had personalities that really fit together, that was a big part of the process,” Brown said. “It created a good environment to train in. My practices are busy every second, there’s not a lot of downtime and my players haven’t let up once. It’s really important when you’re coming to the end of the season and fighting to stay undefeated.

And Middletown were acutely aware of their chance to post a perfect league record. While the Mustangs had 16 championship games on their schedule, three never happened due to COVID-19 reschedulings.

“Funny how a few teams didn’t want to reschedule with us,” Brown said. “We heard rumors that we were the ones who didn’t want to play them. We wanted to play every one of our games. »

A JV coach and varsity assistant under former Middletown head coach Anthony Bazzano for several seasons, Brown said it was Bazzano’s traveling ICE youth program that created the power system that now powers teams in middletown high school girls.

“His traveling program with young children led the way,” Brown said. “We followed a program and it worked. I have to give him (Bazzano) a lot of credit. I used my bag of tricks but also learned a lot from him. The power system speaks for itself in terms of the success we’ve had. I still think Middletown are the team to beat next year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go unbeaten in the league again.

Although Brown is eager to take time off from training – he’s been coaching at some level for 25 years – so he can spend more time with his family, including his two granddaughters, he didn’t. ruled out a return to training one day. , possibly as a boys’ basketball coach at Middletown High where his son, who is about to enter eighth grade, will be playing in a few years.

“It will be nice to take some time off, but maybe I’ll be back if the right opportunity arises,” he added.

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