Morgan State University alumnus and former Morgan men’s basketball player Sam Brand, has made a name for himself as a head coach of Baltimore Polytechnic High School’s varsity basketball team.
After coaching Poly’s varsity basketball team to back to back state titles, he doesn’t limit his goals to what only happens on the basketball court.
“Our goal is to get the most out of every kid that comes through our program,” said Brand. Our goal is to also provide premium support to kids in Baltimore City public schools, at my alma mater specifically and we have definitely accomplished that. We want to support the players in a way they feel like they’re in college already.”
Brand, who graduated from Poly in 1999, is the third NCAA Division I basketball athlete Poly produced. He took over the helm of his alma mater’s program one week prior to the 2010-2011 season. He proceeded to turn around a program that had posted just three wins the previous season and upped Poly’s record to 11-13.
Since then, he has achieved winning records in each of the past six seasons for an overall slate of 119-53 (.692 winning percentage) in his seven years at Poly.
Brand inherited a program that had never captured a city, regional or state championship. However, in addition to the 2017 state crown, Brand has led his teams to a pair of city championship games (2016, 2017), winning the title in 2016, and captured regional championships in 2013 and 2017.
Four of Brand’s Poly Tech athletes have competed at the NCAA Division I level.
His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Brand was named the 2017 Prep Hoops Maryland Coach of the Year and was co-winner of the 2017 Sports Majors Maryland Coach of the Year award.
As a math teacher at Poly, which is one of the top academic public schools in Baltimore, Brand has not only rebuilt up the basketball program, but he has helped his team improve in the classroom.
Prior to his arrival, the team’s average GPA was 1.4, his athletes have upped that to over a 3.0 GPA in each of the past two years. Additionally, Brand was instrumental in changing the city’s weighted GPA policies, which assigns the point system to honors and Advanced Placement classes, to bring them in line with other school districts in the state.
Brand has an undergrad degree in pure mathematics from Morgan, as well as a masters in math education. While at Morgan, Brand was a three-year letter winner on the Bears basketball team where he averaged 12.1 points a game during his career, and was named to the 2005 All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference second team as a senior.
He then spent four seasons on the Morgan State bench, first as a graduate assistant in 2006-07 and then as an assistant coach from 2007-2008 through 2009-2010. During that time, he helped the Bears capture a pair of MEAC regular season titles (2008, 2009) and the 2009 MEAC Tournament championship, its first since 1977. Further, Morgan State advanced to the 2008 NIT and 2009 NCAA Tournament, the school’s first postseason berths since 1976.
Brand has followed the Bears basketball program closely since his departure from Morgan, he also had praise for this year’s Bears team.
“I’m a Bear for life,” Brand said. “I played there, I coached there, I’ve followed every game they had since I left there. This year they had a talented group of guys with Tiwian Kendley and Phil Carr, I wish the season would have ended a different way but at the very least they were an entertaining team to watch.”
While Morgan’s current men’s basketball coach Todd Bozeman has been at the helm for awhile and will most likely continue to be, Brand expressed his aspiration on becoming head coach for the Bears one day.
“It is my dream to coach Morgan. I love the opportunity I have here at Poly but the one place I would be open to listening to is Morgan. I wouldn’t go to the University of Maryland if they asked me but I would go to Morgan if they did,” said Brand.
Brand has proven that he can win in the classroom as well as on the basketball court. His goal has been to get as many kids in Baltimore City to reach the highest level of being a student-athlete as they possibly can.