TAYLORVILLE HIGH SCHOOL
SPORTS HALL OF FAME
PORTRAIT

BRIAN JAMES

Brian James, an assistant basketball coach at Taylorville High School from 1978 to 1985 will be inducted into the Taylorville High School Sports Hall of Fame at a banquet to be held at St. Vincent's Memorial Hospital Auditorium Saturday, April 17th, 2004.

    James attended Taylorville Schools through his junior year at Taylorville High School and graduated from Pleasant Plains High School in 1973. A graduate of Illinois State University, he became the youngest head basketball coach in Illinois when he was selected to lead Wilmington High School at the age of 21 in 1977. The following year he became assistant varsity coach at Taylorville High School where he stayed for seven years.

    While at Taylorville, his junior varsity teams were 77- 50 and the varsity squads were conference and Regional Tournament Champs in 1982 and 1985.

    After leaving Taylorville, James moved north, to suburban Chicago and became an assistant at Romeoville. He took over as head coach at Romeoville after one year and led the Spartans to a State Finals appearance in 1986. In 1989 he became the head coach of Glenbrook North High School where he completed a record of 139 and 34 through the 1995 season. While at Glenbrook North James took his team to the state finals three times, in 1992, 1994 and 1995. He was selected as "Best Young Coach" by the Chicago Sun Times in 1994, "Windy City Roundball Suburban Coach of the Year" in 1992, 1993, and 1995, and was selected as Illinois District IV Coach of the Year four separate seasons.

    In 1995 Brian began his NBA coaching career as an assistant coach and advance scout with the Detroit Pistons under Head Coach Doug Collins. James coached under Collins in the 1997 NBA All- Star Game. The Pistons improved their winning record from 28 to 46 to 54 wins in the two years under their guidance and made the playoffs in each of those seasons.

    In 1998 the Toronto Raptors hired Brian as their lead assistant coach. In his first season with the Raptors, Toronto had 45 wins and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in the franchise history in 2000. James had the duty of preparing the defensive game plan for his team and for every game and his expertise helped Toronto become only the third team in league history to go from under 20 wins to the NBA playoffs in just two seasons.

    In 2001, James rejoined his friend and mentor Doug Collins as they were chosen as coaches for the Michael Jordan lead Washington Wizards. In his first season with the Wizards, the team improved from 19 to 37 wins. At the beginning of the his second season with the Washington, he was selected as one of the top six assistant coaches in the NBA in a poll conducted by league General Managers.

    Beginning the summer of 2003, Brian began doing advanced pro and college scouting for the Seattle Sonics. He also was employed by Corncast Sportsnet to appear on the pre and "Post Game Live" TV shows following each Wizard's game. He also contributes to a weekly show reviewing the entire NBA in its "Holding court Segment.  Brian holds a Master's Degree in educational administration form Northeastern Illinois University. He is married to Julie and has three children, Christopher, Dayna and Brady.