WESTLAKE, Ohio - When you mention coach Mike Brown at Lee Burneson Middle School in Westlake, everyone has a story to tell. The famous NBA coach was a volunteer eighth-grade football coach at the school where his son, Cameron, attended.
Coaches remember how Brown recruited himself for the unpaid position.
"The first day he showed up he said ‘Mr. Behrendt, how can I be of any assistance at all?' And I was rather dry so I said ‘How about some water?'" joked coach Brad Behrendt. "So I had the best-paid water person ever."
The staff at Lee Burneson remembers Brown as being unassuming and humble, a dad who loved being around kids. One year, Brown and his wife Carolyn donated money to send sixth graders from Parkside Elementary School to camp.
"The family was involved in PTA. They were always helpful," said principal Paul Wilson. "Mrs. Brown was famous here at Lee Burneson for some of the things she and other members of our PTA set up for Teacher Appreciation Day. I remember during Valentine's Day they did this M&M spread in our teachers' center just as a sign of thanks for our teachers and what they meant to their family. So they were just great."
The Lee Burneson community is thrilled that the Browns are returning to northeast Ohio.
So are the people at the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center in Cleveland, where Carolyn Brown volunteered. CEO Linda Johanek said Carolyn was especially interested in raising awareness about teen dating violence.
"She was incredible," Johanek said.
Carolyn Brown also has a history with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, where she worked with students at the Douglas MacArthur Leadership Academy and along with the Cavaliers, created a library there to inspire students to achieve.
"They do a lot of stuff behind the scenes," said Mike Bee, head football coach at Lee Burneson, "but they help out in every way possible."