Casey Brown is returning to Boston University as the new women’s soccer head coach. This is Brown’s third head coaching position in her career, but this time it’s different.
Just over a decade ago, the Natick native played at BU under the program’s inaugural head coach Nancy Feldman, who retired earlier this year.
“It’s home and it’s BU,” Brown said.
As a freshman at BU, Brown had a quick introduction to Division 1 soccer.
“My first ever college game was an overtime, played every single minute we beat [Boston College] in double overtime at Nickerson Field” Brown recalled. “Then you fly to Stanford and you beat Santa Clara who’s number three in the country. It’s like welcome to the next level..”
During the College of Communication alumna’s four years, the team played in four NCAA tournaments which included America East’s first ever at-large bid. Not only was she succeeding on the field, but she was also starting to pick up on Feldman’s insights into coaching.
“I felt like we got to a place where I was probably coaching on the field a bit,” Brown said. “[Feldman] and I were very in sync where I was trying to help lead on the field, what she was saying before in the locker room or on the sideline.”
Brown would return to BU in 2013 as an assistant coach under Feldman after beginning her career as a graduate assistant coach at Long Island University.
Then, the three-time America East Defender of the Year would accept the head coaching position at College of the Holy Cross. Brown’s four years with the Crusaders was a learning experience.
“I walked into a program that needed to be completely revamped,” Brown said of her time in Worcester. “It’s so far been the greatest challenge I’ve probably had coaching … taking over that program and turning it into something different. It’s hard to change culture. Getting the environment right is everything.”
Brown was successful at Holy Cross, where her team made the Patriot League Tournament for the first time in almost twenty years. She was named Patriot League Coach of the Year in 2019.
In the early months of 2020, she was ready for a new challenge and accepted the head coaching position at the University of Pennsylvania.
“After a really successful and historic last season at Holy Cross, I was approached by Penn and there was such a drive,” Brown said. “I’ve always been in high academic environments, and I think the Ivy League for women’s soccer is fantastic.”
But the COVID-19 pandemic would add to the complications of her second head coaching gig.
“I think my last day at Holy Cross was March 13, that Friday when everyone started being sent home,” Brown said. “I started at Penn that Monday or something. So when I started, I never started in-person at Penn.”
With the Ivy League’s decision to not hold competitions during the 2020-2021 academic year, Brown had a full year before her first games with the Quakers. Brown’s time at Penn transformed her thinking as a coach.
“The playbook is out the window and you just have to get on a human level and figure it out,” Brown said. “You had to adapt and you had to be nimble, and I’m really, really so proud of the resiliency that our group showed and the commitment our group showed.”
But with her ties to BU and respect for the administration, it was a no brainer for Brown to return to her old stomping grounds.
“Having a dorm room that overlooks Nickerson Field, like are you kidding me?” Brown said “How amazing, and you’re in the middle of Boston overlooking the field that you play on. Stuff like that was awesome.”
She also mentioned the athletic department and its leadership specifically.
“Since I was 19 years old, I’ve just seen [BU Athletic Director Drew Marrochello] ascend through his career and his leadership and what he’s done for this department is terrific,” Brown said. “I am working for and under and with a department that knows what I’m about.”
Brown will have a strong roster returning from a team that fell in the Patriot League championship last season.
“To me what’s important is the response and that we have players that are really hungry to play for BU and excited to represent that,” Brown said. “I know there’s talent and I think that the challenge and fun for me as a coach is being able to bring that group together.”