By Kaiyo Funaki
Representing City College has taken many different forms over the years for Men’s Athletic Director Harold Brown, 62, who now helps shape the college that shaped him as a young man.
His ties to City College date back to 1977 when he was a rising basketball prospect out of Balboa High School.
Brad Duggan, the former chair of the athletic department and legendary head basketball coach at City College saw his immense talent as a student-athlete and convinced him to become a Ram.
“Brad Duggan believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself,” Brown said. “He saw things in me athletically and academically… that I didn’t see in myself.”
Brown delivered on his potential, winning a state title and first-team All-State honors in his two seasons with the team.
“City College, the two years I played there were the best two years of my life,” he said.
After playing at Gonzaga University on a full scholarship and getting a master’s degree in education administration at Saint Mary’s College, Duggan once again came calling, but this time with a job offer.
Swayed by his mentor, the San Francisco native ultimately returned in 1984 as a physical education instructor and the men’s assistant basketball coach.
He quickly worked his way up the ranks, taking over for Duggan as the head coach in 1988 and leading the team to conference championships on three separate occasions.
Brown eventually stepped down from that role after 11 years but remained a teacher at the college until 2009, when he assumed duties as the men’s athletic director.
In his new position, Brown immediately earned the trust and respect of the department by developing a winning culture on and off the field for every single student-athlete.
“The guys loved him and really respected him because they knew he was a really hard worker. He wanted all of our teams, not just basketball, to do well. In that role, he’s been successful because we have a fantastically successful athletic program,” Duggan said.
Brown helped improve the transportation system for teams and focused on evenly distributing funds throughout every sport, ensuring “all the men’s programs had a chance…to compete at the state level.”
However, supporting student-athletes in their academic pursuits and athletic goals remains his utmost priority to this very day.
“We send more kids to four-year schools, I think… than any other [junior college] in the state on full scholarships,” Brown said. “Guiding kids and helping coaches guide kids to a point where they can receive a full scholarship to attend a four-year school and have a possibility of graduating and earning a degree and changing their lives — I think that’s what we’re in it for, and I know that’s what I am in it for.”
Brown devotes so much time and effort into City Colleges student-athletes because he often sees parallels between his own upbringing and theirs.
“I have been where they are. I know struggle. I come from a place where opportunities and resources are limited. It’s just working with these kids, working with these coaches, to make sure that I can do everything I can to make them successful on the field, in the classroom, and in life.”
After seeing 38 years at City College from every possible perspective, Brown understands just how lucky he is to have found his life’s calling.
“I’m truly blessed and honored to have been part of City College. City College has been good to me, and I love what I do.”