NEWPORT–On December 22nd North Country girls basketball coach Christiane Brown was part of the inaugural class of inductees to the Enosburg High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Brown was a three sport athlete for the Hornets, captaining the school's soccer and basketball teams. She was also a key member of the school's first state championship team in girls basketball in 1999.
While we both attended school and competed in athletics in Franklin County, she in Enosburg, class of 1999, myself at BFA St. Albans, class of 1996, our paths didn't cross. As I have come to know her now, it would not be a stretch to say that if I was a member of an opposing team, she would more than likely be one of the players that we would hate to play against, but love to have on our team. As a coach, she is a joy to work with. She gives an honest assessment of her team's play, whether it be good or bad, and she makes my life a lot easier when the Falcons are on the road, calling promptly after games no matter what the outcome.
It was a pleasure to sit down with her, well technically stand, to discuss her feelings about the HOF experience and to look back on her playing days in Franklin County.
Mike Olmstead: "What was the first thing that went through your mind when you found out that you were going to be part of the inaugural class of hall of famers?"
Christiane Brown: "Last May I got a phone call from Chris Brigham, the athletic director at Enosburg, sharing with me that I am going to be inducted into the Wall of Fame, which is the Hall of Fame, but they have it on a wall in Enosburg, and it all came together for me, realizing what my parents were doing last winter."
MO: "What were they up to?"
CB: "They were calling and asking for all of my high school information, all the things that I won, when was I captain, all that good nitty gritty stuff. I said 'you guys remember it, you don't need anything else Mom and Dad. I don't need anything else, it is all in my trophy case.' They said 'no, I need it, I need it,' so I spent a good two hours going through my scrapbook, my trophy case putting everything together."
MO: "Was it fun?"
CB:"It was well worth it, and I feel truly honored to be part of the first class inducted."
MO:"What was your parents reaction to the induction once they could finally talk to you about it?"
CB: "They were so happy and pleased. I think ecstatic would be the word. My father says it's all because of him, well not because of him. He was going down to get a fire going and he usually reads the paper before throwing it in, and he saw in the newspaper about sending in nominations and filling out paper work. So, he tells Mom, who he calls Love, that if he never saw it in the paper, then I probably wouldn't have been inducted. I think it was a team effort between my Mom and my Dad and they're just so honored and pleased, and I make them happy. They loved watching me play and now they come out and support me coach when I go over to the other side of the mountain."
MO: "What were they like when you were playing?"
CB: "My parents are my number one fans, and they knew to be a parent and not a coach, and I think that helped out me out a lot along the way. They didn't coach me, they just supported me."
MO: "What do people ask you about your career now that they know you are a hall of Famer?"
CB: "The common question that people ask is 'did you score a thousand points,' and that's what great about me being inducted is that I didn't score a thousand points. I was a three sport athlete, I went out and played with heart and passion and did all the little things to make my teammates look better. I think that is the bigger reason why I was inducted is because I completely exemplified sportsmanship and I was willing to be there every day and work hard no matter what the situation was."
MO: "Talk a little about the state championship in 1998-1999."
CB: "It was the first state championship (for the school) in girls basketball. They did not think it inevitable with eight girls (on the roster). We got to go to the state house and they have something right in a beautiful amendment in the state house, and I really think that that is another big reason why maybe I was inducted, because they didn't think that eight girls who went out and played hard every night could make it to the end, and we did."
MO: "What was the actual night like when they called your name and you went up and received your plaque? Did you realize it then, or did it take a little while for it to sink in that you were part of a very elite group of athletes?"
CB: "I don't think it has hit me yet to be honest with you. It is a shock, I'm still kind of shocked when I look at my plaque outside the gym that I could earn something of that nature. So I don't think it's hit me yet, but I definitely do feel honored and very thankful. I got to see some of the people that came and supported me when I played there, and they are still going to all these games and just having that memory and moment of being honored was just... wow."
MO: "Besides your Mom and Dad, are there any other people that helped you out along the way that you would like to mention?"
CB: "I had coach Dusso as my basketball coach. He's one that really got me into wanting to play at the next level at college and coach (Brown played her college ball at Johnson State). I also got to be inducted with someone who I had as a J/V coach, Peter Gervais, and that was really special. I've had him as a science teacher, my athletic director, my varsity coach, and he was my softball J/V coach, so that was kind of nice to be inducted with someone that I hold so close."
MO: "Any final words?"
CB: "I just would like to thank my parents."
If you want to catch a glimpse of the competitor that Christiane is, Coach Brown and the NC girls will be back in action on Friday when they play host to Rice at 6:30.