A Passion for UMBC Athletics
UMBC Athletic Director Dr. Charles Brown came to UMBC from his native New York in 1988 looking forward to the challenge of leading a Division I program after several years as AD for Division III Hunter College. “As soon as I stepped on campus, I knew UMBC was a diamond in the rough,” says Brown. “I wanted to take a chance to put UMBC on the map.”
Fifteen years later, Brown has exceeded that goal and turned UMBC into a regional dynamo in college athletics. He has just been selected to receive UMBC’s Presidential Distinguished Professional Staff award, after signing a three-year contract extension through the 2008 academic year.
Under Brown’s tenure, UMBC Athletics has made big strides. Most recently, Brown engineered UMBC Athletics’ move to the America East Conference, after the Retrievers experienced unprecedented success in their five years in the Northeast Conference.
UMBC teams have won 32 NEC Championships and made 22 appearances in NCAA Championship competition. In all five years of league play, UMBC has been awarded the Commissioner’s Cup, symbolic of the conference’s top overall program. Just last year, UMBC produced its first national champion; shot putter Cleopatra Borel, in NCAA Indoor Track & Field.
UMBC’s student-athletes have also excelled in the classroom. In the last five years, 20 student-athletes have earned Academic All America status, and for the past two semesters, over 50% of Retriever student-athletes have earned 3.0 or higher grade-point averages.
Brown has increased the full-time faculty and staff of the athletic
department and initiated the UMBC Dance Team, the Down and Dirty Dawg Band and the Spirit Squad. He has presided over an increase of over 1000 percent in fund-raising. In the area of community service, UMBC student-athletes currently donate over 1,000 hours of time per year to mentor local middle school students and coaches make hundreds of appearances throughout the year.
Brown has also improved the visibility of UMBC and the greater Baltimore
region in the national sports scene. In 1995, he brought the first and
second rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championships to the Baltimore Arena. In 1998, UMBC hosted the Women’s Lacrosse national championships at the Stadium, drawing record crowds and kudos from the national media. Dr. Brown also led the successful bid to bring the highly success Men’s Lacrosse National Championships to Ravens’ Stadium in 2003, 2004, and perhaps for many years to come.
Brown has helped lead the university’s growth and improvement in
world-class athletic and recreational facilities during his tenure. Over the next three years, he will preside over another multi-million dollar facility
Despite all the individual and team glory obtained for UMBC during competition, some of Brown’s finest memories at UMBC occur off the field
of play. “The Hall of Fame Dinners are some of my most special memories,” he says. “When the alums that were here when I was AD talk about their experiences, those are the most rewarding moments I can remember, more than the individual or team championships. You feel great that you have been a part of making college life a great experience.”
Recently, the former LIU wrestling standout and Hunter wrestling coach has contemplated retirement and spending more time with his wife, Linda,
UMBC’s Associate Director of MIPAR, and family. But UMBC’s move to the America East Conference has put those plans on temporary hold.
“The America East has gotten my juices flowing as we challenge our program at a higher level. I’m excited to plan with my coaches and staff how we’re going to be successful at this new level. There will be challenges, but, as Linda says, I am the ultimate optimist and I never give up.”