Brown reaches the pinnacle

Francis Boeck, Managing/Sports Editor

Jamie Brown has made a lot of stops in her 18-year softball coaching career, but her final destination was always to be the head coach at SUNY Buffalo State.

Now, Brown is finally able to arrive at the Elmwood Avenue station fulfilling a longtime dream, coaching at her alma mater.

“This was always the pinnacle for me,” said Brown, who has coached all across the country and at every level from Division-I to junior college.

Brown was an outfielder for the Bengals from 1996-99. As a four-year starter, she helped Buffalo State win a SUNYAC championship and make two NCAA playoff appearances.

The Latham, NY native came to Buffalo State with hopes of making a career as a journalist covering sports, but as her college career was coming to an end she realized that it wasn’t what she wanted to do.

Then head coach Sandy Hollander first introduced to her the idea of coaching.

“I wanted to work for Sports Illustrated,” Brown said. “In my senior year, I did my internship at the Niagara Gazette and I was really not enjoying it. It was scary because I thought I had wasted my entire college career.”

“I was heartbroken that softball was ending. So, coach Hollander had brought coaching to my attention.”

The hall of fame coach didn’t convince Brown. Her best friend and teammate, Melanie Reed, helped set Brown down the right path. 

In my senior year, I did my internship at the Niagara Gazette and I was really not enjoying it. It was scary because I thought I had wasted my entire college career.

— Jamie Brown

“My best friend and her mom sat me down and said to me ‘you need to be a coach’,” Brown said. “It was them who pushed me that way. I thought maybe I would like it. So, here I am today.”

She has been an assistant coach at Butte College, Southern Utah, Wagner and Westminster and a head coach at California State-Chico, East Stroudsburg, Skidmore and most recently at Sage College in Albany. In her six seasons at the helm, Brown led the Gators to a 141-101 record and a Skyline Conference Championship.

Now she’s back at Buffalo State, holding the same spot as Hollander, who was recently inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

“It’s an absolute honor,” Brown said. “I’m sure she’s laughing at this whole situation right now. She never expected for me to take over this position. She’s a legend. She knew how to build a dominating team. The culture that she had was awe inspiring and the one I’m striving to get.”

According to Brown, team chemistry was the hallmark of the Buffalo State softball program when she played.

She looks to recreate that culture that defined the program under Hollander.

“Back when I played we were all about team chemistry. It’s the most important thing,” Brown said. “We fought for each other. Every time we were down we would continue to fight. We were gritty, we worked really hard. That is Buff State. That’s what I want this program to be.”

When Brown came to her previous coaching stop at Sage College in 2011, it was a homecoming for her as she was right around the corner from friends and family. That made it difficult to leave to go to Buffalo State but coaching at her alma mater was something she couldn’t pass up.

“I lived five minutes away from my mom and dad, from sisters and nephews,” Brown said. “Leaving them was a major hurdle in taking the job at Buff State. But to be able to coach where I played, it’s not an opportunity many coaches get.”

Brown is fairly certain that she wants to make Buffalo State her permanent home.

“Division III is where I need to be, it’s apart of me and who I am,” Brown said. “I plan on being here for the rest of my career.”