Cheyney's coaching pick an 'unconventional' one Lee Brown hopes to revive the Wolves, who haven't had a winning season since 1979.

Posted: January 05, 2002

Yesterday, Cheyney University athletic director Eve Atkinson introduced the school's new football coach, Lee Brown, describing him as "dynamic, yet unconventional." Atkinson made it clear that she thought an unconventional coach was needed at the school, which has lost 18 straight games, and hasn't had a winning season since 1979.

Brown agreed with the "unconventional" designation, noting that he hadn't taken the traditional coaching path of graduate assistant to assistant to coordinator to head coach. He spent the last season as a defensive backs coach and head track coach at Mount Senario College, an NAIA school in Ladysmith, Wis. "Halfway to the North Pole," Brown said.

Before that, Brown - a 1986 graduate of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo., where he played football - had spent a season as running backs coach at Indiana State, was a defensive coordinator at a high school in St. Louis and had worked as an assistant at other high schools. He also spent five years as head coach and general manager of a semi-professional team in St. Louis, starting the team from scratch, and did a stint as commissioner of the semi-pro South Central Football League.

"We will rebuild, resurrect, reconnect and rededicate Cheyney University to football," Brown said.

Brown's predecessor, John Parker, resigned on Nov. 20 after an 0-10 season. Parker was 4-38 in four seasons as coach of the Wolves.

Atkinson said that given the need for coaches to be so involved in fund-raising in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Brown's background was particularly intriguing. In addition to coaching at Mount Senario, Brown was in charge of development at the school, reporting directly to the president on fund-raising matters.

Brown left Mount Senario just in time. He said he was at Cheyney for his interview last month when he got word that Mount Senario was dropping all its athletic programs. He had first heard of the Cheyney opening, he said, on the Web site footballscoop.com.

He said he planned to contact former Cheyney coaches Billy Joe in football and John Chaney and Vivian Stringer in basketball to find out how they were able to achieve success in their sports. Given the scholarship disparities throughout the PSAC, Brown said he would also run unconventional schemes on offense and defense, "to put the burden on [opposing teams] to have to prepare."

Brown mentioned that he had watched a National Geographic special that focused on how a spider web had been the inspiration for a parachute design.

"If a guy can look at a spider web and see a parachute," Brown said, "then I can look at 0-10 and create 10-0."

Mike Jensen's e-mail address is mjensen@phillynews.com.

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