Ex-PBA star now a school principal
- Joaquin M. Henson () - February 22, 2009 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Former PBA star Ricardo Brown is now the principal of Ross Middle School, a highly-acclaimed academy of creative media and arts with a student population of 680, including 8.4 percent Filipino, and a faculty of 29 teachers in Artesia, California.

Brown, 51, is the first Fil-Am to play in the PBA. He entered the pro league in 1983, was named MVP in 1985, played on six title teams in eight seasons and led the PBA in scoring twice. The Quick Brown Fox still holds the PBA records for locals in career scoring average (23.1) and free throw percentage (.876).

“Many of my students (are) Filipino and that is just wonderful as I maintain that connection with their parents who watched me play during the ’80s in the PBA,” said Brown in an e-mail to The Star the other day.

“That connection is very, very important to me and I look for that every opportunity I get. The Pinoy community is planning to honor me one day for becoming the first Filipino principal in the school district. That will be a very special day for me. All of the local Mom and Pop restaurants see me on a regular basis – Mabuhay Kitchen, Valerio’s Bakery, Nanay Gloria’s, etc. It is wonderful to work in a community where the Filipino lifestyle is present everywhere.”

Ross Middle School became a federally-funded magnet school for creative and media arts, catering to students in Grades 7 and 8, in 2004. The average class size is 25-30. The curriculum is specialized in fine arts, theater arts, media production, literary and musical arts. A popular class is video production where students learn to edit, write and produce daily broadcasts from the school studio. Students in journalism learn digital photography, desktop publishing and website design.

Brown said Ross was recognized as a 2007 Title 1 academic achievement school, a 2007 California distinguished school and a 2006 federal magnet school of distinction. It provides for a gradual and orderly transition from elementary to high school with the needs of the early adolescent in focus.

“We recognize that at this age, student needs are unique, that students require special knowledge and understanding and that their physical and intellectual changes affect their social and emotional responses,” said Brown.

The ethnic background of Ross students is diverse with Hispanics accounting for 53.3 percent, Asians (excluding Filipinos) 13.7, Caucasians 12.7, African-Americans 9.6 and Filipinos 8.4.

Brown was born in Chicago and raised in St. Louis. His father Lee is an American and mother Consuelo Vidal, a Filipina. After starring at Pepperdine University, Brown was drafted on the third round by the Houston Rockets in the 1979 NBA draft. He went to Manila to play for the national team on Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco’s invitation and saw action for the Philippine squad that won the Jones Cup in 1981. Brown won his first PBA title with Great Taste in 1984 and appeared in a Filipino movie, “Action Is Missing,” with Dolphy and Paquito Diaz in 1987.

“I know what’s going on in the PBA,” said Brown. “I know the league has really created a new face compared to when I was playing. I think there are some good things but I also have some strong opinions.”

Brown said he will always cherish the memories of playing for Cojuangco and coach Ron Jacobs.

“Mr. Cojuangco will always be very dear to my heart and I regret that I was not able to play more for him during my basketball career,” said Brown. “That was one of my true regrets, my career not evolving in a manner that allowed me to play for the one man whom I most wanted to play for and who was really responsible for me to live and breathe the Filipino culture that I so very much wanted to be a part of.”

Brown is married to Lorma Sahagun of Ilocos Norte. He met his wife, an accountant, in California and they got married in 1984. Their first son Justin was born in the US and lived five years in Manila. Their second son Kevan was born in Cardinal Santos Hospital.

Before his posting at Ross, Brown was the assistant principal at Laguna Hills High School in Newport Beach near Los Angeles.

“I love teaching – I have a passion for it,” said Brown who earned a bachelor’s degree in education at Pepperdine and a Master’s degree in educational administration at California State Fullerton. He used to write a column “The Fox’s Den” in a Fil-Am newspaper in California.

ACTION IS MISSING AMBASSADOR EDUARDO COJUANGCO BROWN CALIFORNIA STATE FULLERTON CARDINAL SANTOS HOSPITAL CONSUELO VIDAL ROSS MIDDLE SCHOOL SCHOOL
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