BY Jim Fenton
Her first victory as head coach of the Stonehill College women's basketball team was on Nov. 16, 2001, in Worcester.
Trisha Brown, after being an assistant coach at Harvard University for nine years, guided Stonehill to a 75-70 victory over Millersville University at the Assumption Tipoff Classic in her debut game.
The victories have been piling up ever since, and last Saturday afternoon in New Hampshire, Brown became a member of the 300-win club.
When the Skyhawks defeated Franklin Pierce University, 71-64, in overtime, it gave Brown a milestone victory in her 15th season on the Stonehill bench.
"As my former boss at Harvard, Kathy Delaney-Smith, said, 'It just means you're old,' which I tend to agree with her,'' joked Brown, who is 300-139 after a 61-56 loss to Merrimack on Tuesday night. "But it's fun. You get to kind of reflect on the program.
"Really, a coach gets a milestone because of two really important things. One, we've had tremendous players play at Stonehill, and two, I've had just tremendous assistant coaches.
"It's kind of a little embarrassing to talk about my 300th win because it really isn't mine. It's the program's 300th win and the people that have been in the program really deserve that credit for the milestone.''
Brown, whose first home win was over rival Bentley University on Nov. 25, 2001, came to Stonehill after working on the bench at her alma mater, Harvard, taking over for Kelly Hart.
She has brought the Skyhawks to 10 NCAA Division 2 tournaments in the past 14 seasons, won three Northeast-10 Conference titles and had just one sub-.500 record along the way.
Brown, the program's third head coach, has kept the winning tradition at Stonehill going, a tradition that began with Paula Sullivan going 478-159 from 1971-96 before her assistant, Hart, was the coach for five seasons.
"I always talk about how lucky I was to get the Stonehill job,'' said Brown, "because it had everything you would want in the head coaching position.
"It was my first head coaching job and it had everything you could want to set yourself up for success. One, it's a great academic school, and two, it has such a great tradition and history of winning and success with Paula and Kelly Hart.
"It really was the perfect job, and fortunately, it's worked out and they've kept me around.''
Stonehill is 12-11 and 7-10 in the NE-10 this season with only two seniors in the rotation. The Skyhawks are bidding for one of the final playoff spots in the Northeast Division with four regular-season games to go.
"These last few years have been a lot of fun and last year in particular,'' said Brown, whose team lost in the final seconds to New Haven in the East Regional title game last March. "That was one of our most successful teams that I've coached at Stonehill.
"This year has been interesting because we're very challenged early in the season. We're very young. But I'm so proud of this team, where we've come and we're playing really good basketball now.''