Scott Brown has quite a resume.
Lawyer. Wrentham selectman. State representative. State senator. U.S. senator. Contributor on national television talk shows. Ambassador to New Zealand. Law school dean.
He’s added one more item to his curriculum vitae: Girls’ basketball coach at Amesbury High School.
That might seem humbling for a guy who was certainly one of the most ambitious politicians ever to come out of this area. But it’s not for anyone who knows his deep passion for the game invented right here in Massachusetts 131 years ago.
Folks around here may remember Brown on the sidelines coaching his daughters, Ayla and Arianna, on middle school-age basketball teams while he was a state rep. Ayla was quite a player, twice earning the Gatorade Player of the Year award while at Noble & Greenough prep school where she piled up a whopping 2,358 career points before enjoying a solid four-year career at Boston College.
Other folks may remember him in age 35-plus men’s basketball leagues put on by the North Attleboro Recreation Department (he and I were briefly teammates) and the Attleboro YMCA. A fitness freak, he was known for being able to outrun anyone in the league and yelling out “And one” whenever he was touched while shooting.
But the sport has an even deeper tie to Brown.
“Basketball saved my life,” he once told a reporter.
As a boy in his hometown of Wakefield, he got caught stealing records at a mall. A judge persuaded him that he needed to change the direction of his life and stop being a “loser.”
“I was arrested when I was 12 but was lucky some great coaches took me under their wing,” he told the reporter.
After starring for his hometown, he went on to play four years at Division III Tufts University from 1977-81, scoring 925 career points and serving as the Jumbos’ team captain his senior year.
After gaining his law degree and moving to Wrentham, he threw himself into public service, first as a member of the town’s board of assessors, then as a selectman and later a state legislator. His political star peaked in 2010 when the Republican shocked Massachusetts by upsetting heavily-favored Democrat Martha Coakley to finish out the remainder of Ted Kennedy’s term in the U.S. Senate.
He was so well known, in fact, that his victory was the subject of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, featuring Jon Hamm as Brown.
After losing to Elizabeth Warren two years later, Brown was appointed to the ambassador post by former president Donald Trump. He moved from Wrentham to Rye, N.H., which is not far from Wakefield, and lost a second bid for the Senate.
Now 63, the former Cosmopolitan centerfold says coaching a high school basketball team has always been on his mind — perhaps as a way of repaying those childhood mentors.
“Being a high school head coach has always been something I’ve wanted to do,” he said. “It’s been a bucket list kind of thing, and this opportunity came up.”
Brown’s home in Rye is also a short drive to Amesbury, where he had been coaching middle schoolers and where the girls’ varsity position recently opened up.
Brown will have big shoes to fill. In four seasons at the helm, Gregg Dollas went 68-15 while leading Amesbury to unprecedented success, topped this past season by a 21-4 record and the program’s first state championship.
Most of the team’s key contributors have graduated so Brown faces a rebuilding job. But he promised that his teams will play hard and be fundamentally sound.
Amesbury players also better be prepared to run when their first practice is held on Monday.
Scott Brown has been running hard his whole life, both for political office and on the basketball court.