Sixers Notes: It's the Maine ingredient for Sixers, Bobcats coaches

Posted: October 19, 2013

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - New 76ers coach Brett Brown will tell you that folks usually think of blueberries and lobsters they when bring up the state of Maine.

"Not NBA coaches," said Brown, who is from South Portland. "It's highly unusual, extremely consequential that he and I are coaching against each other in the NBA. I'm proud of him."

Brown spoke of Steve Clifford, whose Charlotte Bobcats faced the Sixers Thursday morning at the Time Warner Cable Arena. Like Brown, the Island Falls, Maine, native is a rookie head coach. But they're more than just the only current NBA head coaches from Maine. Brown and Clifford have been friends for 27 years.

Both learned the ropes from Brett's father, Bob Brown, a coaching legend in New England.

As a high school coach, Clifford, 51, met Bob Brown at a coaching clinic in mid-1980s. At the time, Brown was the head coach at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

"I just begged him to let me come as a volunteer," Clifford said. "He actually didn't have a position. But he allowed me to come work for him. Let me live with him, and got me jobs around the college so I could make it financially."

He eventually became a paid assistant at Saint Anselm's before taking a position in 1989 at Division I Fairfield University. But he and Brown reunited when Brown was named head job at Boston University in 1990. They spent four years together at BU.

Clifford had been an NBA assistant for 13 years - most recently with the Los Angeles Lakers - before being named the Bobcats head coach in June.

"He's a close friend and I'm thrilled to see him first get the job and second do that job that he's doing now that he's had it," Brett Brown said.

Iverson to retire

A league source said Allen Iverson will announce his retirement on Oct. 30. That's the day of the Sixers' season opener against the Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center. ESPN reported that Iverson's announcement would occur at the game. The team had no comment.

"Tell them the truth"

The Sixers have been blown out in back-to-back games by Brooklyn and Charlotte, but Brown does not want to hear about them being overmatched.

"You coach them like you are coaching the Spurs," said Brown, a former San Antonio assistant. "You tell them the truth. 'You didn't box out. You didn't get back. That is your rotation. That is your man. What pick-and-roll defense are we in?' You coach them. And that's what we are going to do. That's all I know how to do."

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