MCC volleyball assistant takes Texas post
Rick Brown, the assistant volleyball coach at McCook Community College for the past year, is moving on to a new post as assistant at Midwestern State in Texas University, an NCAA DII school.
“Finding an assistant is a hard task and I have been blessed to have worked alongside some great humans and my last year’s assistant is for sure one of those great ones,” said MCC Coach Hayley Kobza.
“Rick came to us from Arizona to pursue his dream of becoming a college head coach and to do that in our industry you have to start at the bottom and move up,” Kobza said.
Brown, a Wyoming native, spent a dozen years working in technology, before returning to college volleyball last year at MCC. He also served as a Residence Life Assistant in Brooks Hall. Brown worked from 2006-2018 as a technology solutions sales professional in the “Four Corners” states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
“I’m not at my final destination, but I am forever grateful for the opportunity Coach Kobza gave me, to start this journey,” Brown said. “The opportunity to learn and grow, meant so much to me, but the connections and relationships I made at MCC are what has blessed me the most.”
Brown said he started the coaching journey as an alternative to the sales career he left. Each job/career has its own set of challenges and stresses, but said the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of so many kids, just made the decision that much clearer.
“I didn’t know what was in store for me when I got to McCook, but it was so much better than I could have asked for,” Brown said. “The program and culture that Coach Kobza has put together was exactly what I would want for my team. The support of the school, the boosters, and the community is amazing.”
He said he loved working with Kobza. She let him voice his opinion, and gave him a lot of responsibilities right away.
“I learned new things every day, about Coach, the girls, the program, and myself,” Brown said. ‘It was a great opportunity to push myself, to do things outside my comfort zone, and to grow as a person.”
Perhaps the most difficult thing about “starting a new career” was it meant being away from his family for the past year.
“Rick is happily married and has two children and I would say his family has to be his biggest fans, because they are still in Arizona and they want him to be successful in pursuing his dream,” Kobza said.
Brown grew up in Torrington, Wyo. and was an assistant coach for the Eastern Wyoming College program. After receiving his associate’s degree at Eastern Wyoming in Management Information Systems in 1989, he received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems in 1990 at Northern Arizona University. Brown lived in the Phoenix metro area since from 1996 until last summer when he moved to McCook.
He keeps finding connections from his past all over the place. Whether it was the college president at Otero, a former business colleague in Trinidad, former players (now moms) in Casper, or the daughter of a former player at MCC -- that is continuing in Texas.” He said Head Coach Valerie Armstrong, is the sister of one of Jaycee Widener’s (MCC Freshman) high school coaches. He also learned that one of his returning players knows one of the players he coached at Eastern Wyoming.
Kobza said an acquaintance of hers told her about an assistant job opening in Texas told Brown he should apply.
“Just to get his name out there, and maybe a good opportunity to at least get an interview,” Kobza said. “Well, just my luck -- or not my luck -- Coach Rick was offered the job at Midwestern State with Coach Armstrong.”
Brown said just like Nebraska, his wife has family in Texas, and they are only two hours away and he is hopeful that things are back to normal, and that he’ll have more opportunities to get back home.
Kobza said when she learned Brown was hired, one memory immediately came to mind.
“It was during one of our team conversations when the question was asked to everyone ‘What are you most afraid of?’ and Coach Rick responded ‘That I am too old to reach my dream of becoming a college head coach,’” Kobza recalled.
“In my mind, you are never too old, and this career move for him is a true testament that he is going to reach his dream,” Kobza said. “I am glad that he chose McCook to be a part of that process.”