Jim Brownlee

Jim Brownlee coached college baseball for 30 years.

Early Life and Playing Career

Brownlee started at third for Illinois State’s 1969 NCAA Division II national champions. Brownlee earned his bachelor’s degree from Illinois State in 1970 and his master’s degree in 1974.

Brownlee served in the military after he finished college. He was assistant coach at Illinois State from 1975-1976.

Coaching Career

From 1980-2002, he was head coach at University of Evansville. After going 7-37-1 during his first season in 1980, the following season, the Aces won 26 games, more wins than the previous three seasons combined. From 1983 to 1985, Brownlee was a three-time Heartland Conference Coach of the Year, leading Evansville to league titles all three seasons.

In 1988, Brownlee had one of the best seasons of his career, earning Mid-East Coach of the Year honors by his peers and the Diamond Sports Company District Coach of the Year after leading the Aces to a 44-20 record and an NCAA Tournament victory over No. 1 Arizona State.

Brownlee then coached Evansville to national prominence in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference (now the Horizon League). In 1991, the Aces won the MCC regular season with a 40-18-1 record, and in 1993, he led the team to a 43-18 mark, the second-most victories in school history. Brownlee coached Aaron Gries, the Academic All-America Player of the Year at shortstop in 1993.

In 1995, Evansville joined the Missouri Valley Conference, and Brownlee continued to succeed, posting winning records in five of his eight seasons in the league. The 2000 season saw Brownlee lead the Aces to a 41-22 record and an NCAA Tournament bid, which earned him Valley Coach of the Year honors.

In his 14 seasons in the Valley, Brownlee produced 15 first-team all-conference players and 22 Valley Scholar-Athlete first team selections.

He was named Conference Coach of the Year in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 2000. He won 701 games in his 23 years at Evansville, with several 40-win seasons.

Illinois State

He then returned to Illinois State as head coach from 2003-2009, going 132-185 his first six years, before retiring.

Interim Coach at Iowa

In 2012 Brownlee came out of retirement to become the interim pitching coach for the University of Iowa.

Legacy

Brownlee was inducted into the UE Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005 after he earned more victories than any other coach in Evansville history. He is also a member of the Illinois State Athletics Hall of Fame, being inducted as a member of the 1969 team.

He coached four major leaguers, including Evansville pitcher Andy Benes who won NCAA Player of the Year honors, and was the No. 1 overall pick in Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft by the San Diego Padres. He also coached current Minnesota Twins infielder Jamey Carroll.

Personal Life

Brownlee and his wife, Candy, are the parents of two sons, Tim Brownlee and Ryan Brownlee — both of whom played for their father at Evansville.

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