Brett Brown won’t coach the Australian men’s national basketball team in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after all.
The former 76ers coach stepped down from the Boomers position Tuesday, citing the uncertainties of his professional future. Brown, who previously lived in Australia, accepted a second stint to become Australia’s coach on Nov. 27, 2019. He agreed to coach just in the Olympics, as the Boomers planned to seek a long-term coach after the Games.
The Olympics were originally scheduled for this summer but were postponed until next summer because of COVID-19. The Sixers fired Brown on Aug. 24.
“The uncertainties around the direction of my professional future, unfortunately, mean that I cannot commit to the time and preparation that this job deserves and requires,” Brown said in a statement. “The difficulties around traveling internationally with my family during the pandemic have also contributed to my decision.”
The next NBA season won’t start until January at the earliest. As a result, the season and next summer’s Olympics could overlap. So there could have been a scheduling conflict for Brown. The Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Indiana Pacers, and New Orleans Pelicans still have head-coaching vacancies.
Brown defied the odds during his seven-year coaching tenure with the Sixers.
He survived a 10-72 record during his third season. He outlasted two general managers and briefly served as interim general manager before one of his former players, Elton Brand, became his third GM. He took a team from 28 wins one season to 52 the next. He led the Sixers to three consecutive playoff appearances.
Yet, they failed to live up to this season’s lofty expectations. The team that he and other members of the organization repeatedly proclaimed was “built for the playoffs” was swept in the first round by Boston Celtics. This came after a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Eastern Conference standings.
Brown left the Sixers with a 221-344 regular-season record and a 12-14 postseason mark. But perhaps his most telling statistic is having coached 102 players in what resembled a revolving door.
He was an assistant coach for the Australian national team from 1995 to 2003. The Boomers hired him as their head coach in 2009, and he held that position until 2012. Brown led Australia to the quarterfinals of the 2012 London Olympics before it lost to the United States, the eventual gold medalist.