The Armory in Manhattan has always carried special memories for longtime Kellenberg girls track coach Marty Brown. In 1970, while running on the Garden City High School team, he ran his first competitive indoor track meet at the iconic venue. In 1974, Brown set the Garden City High School indoor mile record — a four minute, 33.5 second trot that stood for 11 years.
After nearly half a century of memories, the Armory paid Brown back for all the miles that he’s experienced there. He was inducted into the Armory Coaches Hall of Fame during the Coaches Hall of Fame Invitational Saturday afternoon.
Brown, who is in his 35th year coaching and 21st year at Kellenberg, joined James Schlentz (New Jersey Colts Neck), Tim St. Lawrence (Warwick Valley), Horace Sutherland (Brooklyn Paul Robeson) and Claude Toukene (Virginia Western Branch) as 2018 inductees. Past Long Island inductees include Chaminade’s Bill Carriero, Bay Shore’s Steve Borbet, Uniondale’s Dennis Kornfield and Mepham’s Paul Limmer.
“The sport has meant a lot to me,” said Brown, whose coaching has encompassed cross country, indoor and outdoor track. “The people inside of it have meant a lot . . . I’ve had great opportunities and I have friends all over the country from the sport. I know that they would do almost anything for me if I needed it and I would do anything for them. That’s all from being on a team with them. To be in with those guys, Carriero, Limmer, Kornfield, and Borbet. That’s huge.”
Brown has left an indelible mark on his athletes, many of whom he keeps in contact with long after graduation.
“Mr. Brown was the most caring, compassionate and motivating coach that a person could ask for,” said Jazmine Fray, who ran for Brown at Kellenberg from 2011-2015. “I honestly wasn’t even going to go to Kellenberg, and he’s the main reason that I’m happy that I went. With him, there was nothing that I ever regretted. I know that there are very few things that you could say were perfect, but he was perfect in every single way.”
Brown began his coaching career at Valley Regional High School in Connecticut before taking a job at Chaminade, heading up the indoor program and assisting Carriero during cross country and the outdoor season.
In 1998, Brown left Chaminade to coach the Kellenberg girls — a program that, Brown was told, was not “serious” about the sport and where it would be hard to win. Inspired by the challenge, Brown set out to turn the program around and did so in a big way. In 2003, the school won its first league championship under Brown and the success kept growing.
“I felt that, then, we started to get the winning culture and it just keeps getting better,” Brown said of the 2003 league championship. “Now the kids come into a culture of kids coming out everyday and being ready to work.”
Kellenberg is now consistently one of the top girls Catholic programs in the state, most recently winning the CHSAA Cross Country Intersectional Championship in the fall. As humble as Brown may be, others have noticed the effects that Brown has had on every athlete on his roster — from sprinters to throwers.
“In my mind, the thing that singles him out is the legacy that he’s leaving on this sport,” Carriero said. “You can get as much out an athlete who wants to do well for their coach. Marty creates that kind of enthusiasm in his athletes.”