Dee Brown Hired as Special Assistant to Mike Thomas

Posted:
 CHAMPAIGN (fightingillini.com)-- University of Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas announced Wednesday that former Illinois basketball All-American Dee Brown will join his staff for the summer as Special Assistant to the Director of Athletics.

"Dee brings an enthusiasm for the FIGHTING ILLINI that is second to none," Thomas said. "His experiences as a student-athlete on campus and in the community, his successful pro career, and now his returning to campus to give back to the FIGHTING ILLINI speaks volumes about the positive time that he had here. I'm very pleased to welcome Dee and his family back into the FIGHTING ILLINI in a formal capacity this summer with the hope that once his playing days conclude that he will be back in a yet to be defined role. Dee will make our student-athletes and all of our teams and programs better on many fronts. It's a great day for Illinois Athletics."

Brown -- the 2005 Sporting News National Player of the Year and winner of the 2006 Bob Cousy Award as the nation's top point guard -- is scheduled to assume the new position on July 1 and will work with the DIA until he travels overseas to play his final season of professional basketball during the upcoming 2015-16 season.

His duties will include representing the Director of Athletics and Illinois Athletics at a variety of campus and off-campus functions and meetings, and relationship building with campus administrators and local and regional business leaders and donors. Additional aspects will include outreach efforts and fundraising.

Brown's duties also will entail assisting in the recruiting process for many sports in accordance with NCAA rules, along with serving as a mentor for current student-athletes in all sports and developing and growing successful relationships with former Fighting Illini.

"Mike has a vision for Illinois Athletics and a plan to realize it," Brown said. "I'm truly honored to be a part of his vision and to begin working with him on several projects. My role is not just about me as a former basketball player, it's about giving back to the best school in the country that has given me so much as a student and as an athlete. I may have left Illinois physically when I graduated, but I never left it in my heart and now I have the chance to be back in Orange and Blue. This is a great day and what I hope will be the beginning of my career off the court!"

A native of Maywood, Illinois, Brown was named Mr. Basketball in Illinois following his senior season at Proviso East High School, when he also was selected a McDonald's All-American. He made an immediate impact with the Illini, earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors while helping lead the team to 25 wins, a Big Ten Tournament title and NCAA second-round appearance. The Illini won 26 games, an outright Big Ten championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 during Brown's sophomore season.

That set the stage for a stellar junior campaign in which the Illini won 37 games to tie the then-NCAA record for most victories in a season. Illinois won a second straight outright Big Ten title, added a conference tournament crown and advanced to the Final Four following a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Arizona in the Elite Eight. The Illini went on to finish as National Runner-Up. Brown was named a consensus first-team All-American and swept Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year accolades. His senior season concluded with consensus second-team All-America honors as the Illini won 26 games and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Ten years later Brown remains the winningest player in Fighting Illini basketball history, playing in 114 victories during his career. His name is etched all over the UI record books, where he still ranks third all-time in scoring (1,812 career points), second in career steals (231) and 3-pointers (299) and third in career assists (674).

"Dee Brown is without question one of the best and most beloved players ever to wear the Fighting Illini uniform," UI basketball head coach John Groce said. "I've enjoyed building a relationship with him over the last three years and am inspired by the passion he has for our basketball program and this University. He is a proud graduate who wants the best for all our current student-athletes and will work hard to help move Illini Athletics forward."

Brown is married to the former Delores Confer, who also attended the University of Illinois. He has four children, sons Darrian and Daniel and daughters Michele and Zoe.
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