Successfully opening a caramel candy got John Brady his first coaching job in 1970. Now in his 20th year as head coach at Annapolis, Brady is closing in on a sweet milestone, 400 career wins.
At 49, Brady has a career mark of 399-76 (.840). Other than Morgan Wootten of DeMatha, who has more than 1,100 victories and got his 400th in his 14th season, no other Maryland coach has climbed to 400 as quickly as Brady. Ray Mullis, the late Cardinal Gibbons coach, reached No. 400 in his 20th season, but not until his 13th victory that year.
In Anne Arundel County, only Southern's Tom Albright, who just started his 32nd season, has more wins, at 454-262.
Brady's coaching career began at Andover in 1970 as a varsity assistant to the late Dick Hart. Then, Andover athletic director Jim Dillon, who is currently at Old Mill, hired Brady as the Archers' JV coach.
"Jim called me into his office and said, 'Since you are a young guy, not married, we should get you into coaching,' " recalled Brady, who has been married for nine years and has a daughter, 8. "He gave me an aptitude test for the JV job -- gave me a caramel candy, and when I took off the wrapper, he said I had the job."
Dillon and his successor, Roy Skiles, also coaxed Brady into being a varsity football assistant. Brady said that experience was invaluable for preparation and time management.
"I had no aspirations of coaching. I liked playing -- and played on Monday nights with the faculty -- when Dick Hart asked me to help out. And I was fortunate to have coached football. I never thought I would be in it this long," Brady said.
In high school, Brady had played JV and two years of varsity
basketball at Mount St. Joseph under Jerry Savage and Gene Nieberlein. He then went to the University of Maryland, though he did not play basketball there. After graduating, he landed a job as an accounting-business math teacher at Andover.
After seven years at Andover, Brady got his first head coaching job at Annapolis in 1977.
"John always liked the game, worked at it and has become a real student of the game," said Savage, who won his 500th game at Loyola High last season.
Brady also became a student of priorities. He has spent 20 years indoctrinating his players on the importance of going to college. Each year, Brady gives every one of his players a binder that outlines what they need to do to get into college.
"Those of us in the know are aware of all that John does for the kids, and I don't just mean basketball," said Fred Stauffer, the only athletic director Brady has had at Annapolis.
Of the 123 seniors who have played for Brady, 101 have gone on to college (82 percent) and 10 have played NCAA Division I basketball.
Four Brady proteges have graduated from the Naval Academy. Timmy Brown, a 1987 grad and Anne Arundel County Player of the Year, graduated from Pennsylvania's California University and has been one of Brady's assistants the past couple of years.
Brady's first team went 21-5 (the first of 15 20-win seasons) and captured his first of 15 county and 12 region titles.
It took Brady 10 trips to Cole Field House and a change to a run-and-gun offense before he claimed his first state championship, in 1990 -- 106-102 over High Point in what some call Maryland's greatest state championship game.
Brady said players haven't changed in his two decades at Annapolis.
"The kids just have different distractions, but they are the same in basketball and in the classroom as they were 20 years ago," he said.
Brady's sometimes volatile manner on the bench hasn't changed, either.
Brian Barber, a 6-foot-7 senior forward at Annapolis, is headed to Towson State next year. Like others before him, Barber had reservations about playing for Brady after seeing him stomping on the sidelines.
"I was kind of intimidated, but my brother [Lenny, who plays at UMBC] helped me through it by telling me to listen to what he was saying, because he knows what he's talking about," said Barber. "Mr. Brady is very intelligent and teaches us to give all you can.
"He's a motivator and says things that get us fired up and keep us focused. He's instilled the confidence in me to play Division I, and I've always appreciated that he's always stressing academics, putting that first and basketball second to make it in the world today."
As for 400 wins?
"I'm just part of the equation," said Brady. "Annapolis has won 400 while I've been the coach here."
Maryland's 400 club
K? State boys basketball coaches with 400 or more career wins:
Coach ........School ....Years ..W-L ..... %
Morgan Wootten DeMatha ..41 ....,105-163 .871
Ray Mullis* C. Gibbons ..31 .....620-346 .641
Jerry Savage Loyola ... .29 .....522-324 .617
Sugar Cain** Dunbar ... .32 .....485-105 .822
Hugh Gelston Boys' Latin 28 .....456-271 .627
Tom Albright Southern-AA 32 .....454-262 .634
Tom Dickman Th. Johnson .23 .....439-107 .804
John Brady Annapolis 20 399 - 76 .840
Deceased. ** Retired.
Milestones to 400
Win Date ...Opponent Score
1 . 12-9-77 Bel Air 84-60
50 .1-25-80 Northeast 68-40
100 2-19-82 Chesapeake 81-53
150 1-4-85 Glen Burnie 71-54
200 2-4-87 Old Mill 67-50
250 2-3-89 Meade 68-41
300 12-16-91 Mt. St. Joe 75-74
350 2-23-94 Glen Burnie 97-62
Pub Date: 12/21/96