Marquis Brown – a coach working to motivate student athletes

Published 3:15 pm Friday, July 21, 2023

Marquis Brown, head basketball coach at Hayneville Middle School, began his basketball coaching career during 2020 – what he called “the COVID-19 year.” Three years later, the full-time Army National Guard aviation ground support serviceman gives his free time to mold student athletes to become their best, on the court and in the classroom.

Lowndes County Public Schools athletic director Nickles Rankins described Brown as a coach who gives his all to the students.

“He’s a military guy,” Rankins said. “[Coaching] is his part time job, but he gives a lot to it. I enjoyed coaching against him when I coached at Lowndes Middle School. He’s a dedicated guy who gives back to the community.”

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The Calhoun School graduate was a multi-sport athlete in high school, playing both football and basketball. He drew inspiration to become a coach from his Hayneville Middle School basketball coach, Samuel Jeter. 

“I wasn’t planning to be an athlete,” Brown said. “I was a tall kid that could play ball but I had no interest in playing school ball. Coach Jeter told me one day, ‘Son, you’re going to play next year.’ He told me I didn’t have an option and he was so authoritative that we all respected him. So, I went to tryouts and that was the start of it. The influence he had on me, just being so positive and being able to get the best out of the kids people had given up on really impacted me.”

As a coach, Brown works now to reach and mold students other people may have written off – those who have issues at home or exhibit negative behaviors at school.

“I always try to get the back story,” Brown said. “I don’t label the kids as a bad kid with a terrible attitude because sometimes children experience issues at home which cause them to act out at school. So, I try to relate to them.”

Brown is a Lowndes County native who grew up and still lives in Hayneville. He said giving back to his community is important and something he is proud to be able to do.

“Being born and raised [in Hayneville], I am all about Lowndes County,” Brown said. “I understand some of the struggles that the kids from here face. I try to learn the kids all the way and let them know they can talk to me.”

Brown previously coached the county’s little league football team and said he still keeps up with students from his early coaching years.

“That first group I coached in 2016 graduated last year,” Brown said. “Some guys come to me now for advice. They’re the same age as my oldest son so they always see me around because when he was playing at Central High School in Hayneville, I was there. He didn’t play football but I was still there to support the team. I tell all my guys, ‘No matter where you go or what you’re doing, I will always be there to support you. No matter what.’”

Brown said he works to maintain a father-figure relationship with student athletes. In addition to his student athlete family, Brown and his wife, Quandria, have four children – two boys and two girls. 

The coach said he hopes to inspire younger generations to take advantage of the opportunities before them.

“That’s really what drives me,” Brown said. “I don’t want the next generation of talent to fall by the wayside, whether it is through sports or other things. There is so much talent here that people just don’t really know they have and lots of kids don’t have that person saying, “Hey man, you can do this.’ So that’s the thing for me in Lowndes County. I know talent is plentiful. We have talented, smart kids and I just want them to get what they deserve.”