DUBUQUE, Iowa — The Dubuque Fighting Saints are proud to announce that Greg Brown has been named head coach of the team, and has signed a multi-year contract. Brown will be the fifth head coach in the organization’s Tier-I history after succeeding Oliver David in the role, and he will look to continue the prestigious run that the team has put forth in the eleven seasons since its reinstatement into the USHL in 2010.
“I would like to thank Brad Kwong and Kalle Larsson for the opportunity to be head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints. This opportunity was interesting to me because of the organization’s strong tradition, and in speaking with Kalle and Brad and members of the ownership group, it was obvious that they are running a fantastic program,” Brown said. “The Fighting Saints have big intentions. It shows in the success of the team in the past and how they run every aspect of the organization that it is going to be a great place to work.”
Brown, 53, most recently served as an assistant coach with the New York Rangers for the past three seasons. He coached superstar players such as Henrik Lundqvist, Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, Alexis Lafrenière, and top-tier USHL products such as Jacob Trouba, Adam Fox and K’Andre Miller. He helped guide the Rangers in the midst of an organizational rebuild, and develop its younger core to higher heights.
“Going into the search for a head coach, we had an established criteria of what we were looking for. When Greg entered the process, it was a natural fit. His background from the highest levels of hockey, both as a player and a coach, combined with his passion for player development, align with our values,” said Dubuque Fighting Saints GM Kalle Larsson. “Furthermore, Greg’s ability to build strong relationships with players and peers really stood out in the interview process and is something we value greatly. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome Greg Brown as the new head coach of the Dubuque Fighting Saints.”
The bulk of Brown’s coaching career came with his alma mater, Boston College. He served as an assistant coach for eight seasons, and was promoted to associate head coach for another six seasons, all under legendary head coach Jerry York. With the Eagles, he coached Fighting Saints alumni Johnny Gaudreau, Mike Matheson, Teddy Doherty and J.D. Dudek, among many other players who saw their careers blossom to the professional level.
“Greg’s hockey résumé speaks for itself, but any concerns we had with respect to the transition from NCAA and the NHL to junior hockey were alleviated when he went through the list of 18, 19 and 20 year olds, the ages of our kids, that he has coached and developed over the years,” said Brad Kwong, managing partner of Northern Lights Hockey, LLC. “From Johnny Gaudreau and Mike Matheson at BC to Adam Fox and Kappo Kakko with the Rangers, he knows how to connect with elite players like the ones we’ll have in Dubuque.”
A BC legend both as a coach and a player, he helped the Eagles win seven Hockey East titles, win seven Hockey East regular season championships, appear in the NCAA tournament 12 times, appear in the Frozen Four seven times, appear the NCAA national championship game five times, and win three NCAA national championships (2008, 2010, 2012) while behind the bench for 14 seasons.
“Through many conversations with people in the hockey community, including close friends of mine from the Boston area, the overwhelming commentary, after his accomplishments in hockey, were about his character, his quiet leadership style, and importantly, how good of a person he is,” Kwong continued. “I believe our players and fans will benefit greatly from having Greg leading the Saints. He provides yet another boost to our organization as we continually seek to get better each year.”
His ability to get the best out of his players was on display during the 2017 and 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships—the top showcase for talent under 20 years of age. Team USA captured the gold medal in 2017, and the bronze medal in 2018. He also served as an assistant coach for Team USA during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships. That roster included former Fighting Saints forward Riley Barber.
“A lot of my experience has been right in this age group. This is what I have been most familiar with over the course of my career,” Brown added. “Those previous experiences will hopefully make for a smooth adjustment to being the head coach in Dubuque.”
Brown is a Boston College legend and one of the best defensemen to ever play at the Heights. Before graduating in 1990 with two Hockey East championships under his belt, he was named a two-time All-American (1989, 1990), a two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist, and a two-time All-New England selection. He is only one of three players in Hockey East history to be the conference’s Player of the Year twice. In 1994, he was one of four defensemen to be named Hockey East All-Decade. Those accomplishments netted him Boston College’s Varsity Club Hall of Fame honors in 2004.
The Massachusetts native enjoyed a long and fruitful professional career that spanned 13 seasons. He played 94 games across four seasons for the Buffalo Sabres, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the first iteration of the Winnipeg Jets. Other pro stops included the Rochester Americans of the AHL, and the San Diego Gulls and Cleveland Lumberjacks of the now-defunct IHL.
Brown spent the final eight seasons of his pro career overseas, playing for pro teams in Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. He won an Austrian League championship with VEU Feldkirch in 1997, and the Spengler Cup with Kölner Hale in 2000.
He is no stranger to representing his home country as a player as well as a coach. Brown skipped his sophomore season at BC to play at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, and the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. Additionally, he suited up for Team USA during the World Championships in 1998 and 1999.
Brown is part of a hockey family that includes a brother, Doug Brown, a fellow BC Hall-of-Famer and a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Detroit Red Wings, and nephews Chris Brown and Patrick Brown, who both played at BC as well. Chris most recently played for the Jacksonville Icemen of the ECHL, and Patrick split time with the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL, and their AHL affiliate, the Henderson Silver Knights this past season.
Brown, along with his wife Katharine, will be making the move to the Dubuque area this summer.
Assistant coaches Evan Dixon and Justin Hale are set to return behind the bench for the Fighting Saints.
A press conference introducing head coach Greg Brown and president of business operations Robert Miller will be held at the Mystique Community Ice Center on Wednesday, June 30 at 4:00 p.m.