Brenda Mock Brown was named head coach of the ETSU women’s basketball program on August 8, 2022.
"Coach Mock" is the 10th head coach in program history. Prior to taking the reigns at ETSU, she led the UNC Asheville women’s basketball program from 2012-20.
She completed her first season at ETSU in 2022-23 and wasted no time making an impact with a 25-10 overall record. For her efforts, she was voted by her peers as the 2022-23 Southern Conference Coach of the Year.
“We are so excited to have Coach Mock lead our program,” said ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander at the time of hire. “She checks all the boxes. Her passion is to make every student-athlete the best they can be, which is right in line with our values. I have no doubt that she is going to turn this program around and get us back to where we belong – competing for and winning SoCon championships.”
Coach Mock's first season at ETSU was nothing short of historic. She led ETSU to the largest turnaround in NCAA Division I Women's Basketball in 2022-23, taking the program from a 6-22 record last season to a 25-10 record this season for a 19-win improvement. The improvement is the seventh-best turnaround in NCAA women's basketball history. Mock is currently the only coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to guide two programs to 15 or more games improved from season-to-season, also doing so at UNC Asheville in 2015-16.
Her first season at the helm brought much more than a turnaround. Under her watch, ETSU set new school records for wins in a season with 25 and the most non-conference wins in a season with 13, won the program's first postseason game since 1995 with two wins in the Women's Basketball Invitational and also achieved the team's first College Insider Top 25 Mid-Major ranking since 2010. The Bucs were either ranked or receiving votes for 10 straight weeks (Dec. 20, 2022 - Feb. 21, 2023) and were ranked for three of those (Dec. 27, 2022 - Jan. 10, 2023).
In Mock's first year, ETSU also set school records for made three-pointers in a single season (228), best margin of victory (69), fewest points allowed in a game (26), fewest points combined (75) in a 44-31 win over Vanderbilt and single-game three-pointers in a win over SoCon regular season champion Wofford (16).
Mock's squad had a consensus first team all-conference player in Jiselle Thomas, who reached 1,500 career points during her lone season with ETSU as a graduate transfer. Sophomore Kendall Folley was a consensus second team all-conference honoreee and made the SoCon All-Defensive team, and Journee McDaniel was named to the SoCon Media All-Freshman team.
The Bucs accomplished all of this in Mock's first season while succeeding in the classroom with a 3.39 GPA as a team.
Coach Mock has 19 years of coaching experience, holding assistant coaching positions at Florida, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Georgia Tech before becoming a head coach.
"I am beyond excited and honored to be the head women's basketball coach at East Tennessee State University,” said Mock at the time of hire. “Growing up in this part of the country and coaching just over the mountain at UNC Asheville, I have always admired the commitment to excellence and the enthusiasm surrounding ETSU Athletics. Johnson City is not only a beautiful place, but a community of hard-working people, knitted together around an amazing university and storied athletics program.
“I would like to thank President Dr. Brian Noland, Dr. Richard Sander, and the entire ETSU community for inviting my husband, Jeremy, and me to join the Buccaneer family. This program will have shared ownership among the staff, student-athletes, and this community, and my intent is to continue to raise the bar as we compete for Southern Conference Championships. We will be relentlessly committed to excellence on and off the court, and work hard to create an environment where our student-athletes and coaches are improving daily and thriving in the process.”
During her eight years in Asheville, Coach Mock led the Bulldogs to four straight postseason appearances from 2015-19, along with claiming back-to-back Big South Tournament titles and the 2015-16 Big South regular season championship. Mock earned Big South Coach of the Year honors following the 2015-16 season where the Bulldogs had the biggest turnaround season in NCAA Division I basketball after UNCA finished with an overall record of 26-7 following a 9-22 campaign the year prior. In addition to the conference coach of the year accolade, Brown was also named Division I women’s basketball Coach of the Year by HERO Sports.
The 2015-16 season was a historic year as UNCA set program records for wins (26) and conference wins (16), while also enjoying its best start to a season after winning nine of its first 10 games. The Bulldogs’ regular season crown also marked the first in program history. Under Coach Mock’s watch that season, Chatori Major won Big South Player of the Year and Conference Tournament MVP honors, while Paige Love was recognized as the first student-athlete to receive the University’s William and Ida Friday Award for Service to Community.
The Bulldogs repeated as Big South Tournament champions in 2016-17 after winning four games in four days – defeating both the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds – en route to becoming first-ever No. 7 seed in Big South Tournament history to win the title, marking UNCA’s second straight NCAA Tournament berth. Coach Mock then directed the Bulldogs to consecutive trips to the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI) in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Overall, Coach Mock led the Bulldogs to five of their 10 winning seasons in school history. In her last five seasons at the helm, Coach Mock saw UNCA total a 95-67 overall record.
Following her time in Asheville, Mock spent the last two years working at Global Sports and Events and was most-recently a consultant at Inkwell Sports Solutions.
Coach Mock began her coaching career as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech from 2002-04. In her first season in Atlanta, the Yellow Jackets won 20 games and earned the program’s second-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. After the two years at Georgia Tech, Mock spent the 2004-05 season as an assistant at Jacksonville before heading to Charlotte.
The Charlotte 49ers averaged 20 wins per season in Mock’s two-year run in the Queen City, while capturing the 2006 Atlantic 10 regular season crown and making back-to-back WNIT appearances.
From there, Mock spent five seasons as an assistant coach at Florida where the Gators played in the postseason each year. The Gators reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09 and 2011-12, while reaching the WNIT in 2007-08, 2009-10 and 2010-11.
Mock played collegiately at Wake Forest where she earned a bachelor’s of arts in history in 2000 and a master’s of education in education in 2001. For her career, Mock – a two-time captain – averaged 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds. As a senior, Mock earned honorable mention All-ACC honors after posting 10.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Over her career, Mock did not miss a game as she played in 111 games and made 57 starts. Mock was a four-year member on the ACC Honor Roll and was named first team Academic All-District.
The daughter of Weaver and Brenda Kirkpatrick, she is most often referred to as ‘Coach Mock’ or ‘Mock,’ which is her middle name and also her mother’s maiden name.
Mock graduated from Tuscola High School in 1996 as a decorated student and athlete. While maintaining a 4.2 grade-point average, she lettered in softball and volleyball in addition to her stellar hoops career, where she was an honorable mention All-America selection by Street & Smith and USA Today in 1995 and 1996, while setting two state records for free throws: most in a game (25-of-25) and most consecutive (39), totaling 51 points in the game she hit 25 free throws. Kirkpatrick was the Asheville Citizen-Times Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons. She played for John Best at Tuscola in basketball.
Mock married former lecturer and ECE Lab Coordinator for the joint NC State / UNC Asheville mechatronics program, Jeremy Brown, in December of 2018. He is currently pursuing a PhD at Virginia Tech in Engineering Education.
HEAD COACH RECORD AT ETSU: 25-10 (1 season)
HEAD COACH RECORD OVERALL: 142-146 (9 seasons)
What They Are Saying About Brenda Mock Brown…
Brenda is a proven winner at every level. She’s a tremendous human being and role model. ETSU hit a home run with her level of experience, success and personal integrity. The program will thrive under her leadership.
Amanda Butler, Clemson Women’s Basketball Head Coach
I couldn’t be any more excited for Brenda and this opportunity. She is one of the finest people and coaches I’ve had the chance work with in my career. Her ability to connect with her players and get their best daily will greatly benefit ETSU. She will thrive at ETSU and in the Johnson City community.
Mike Morrell, UNC Asheville Men’s Basketball Head Coach
Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick Brown is a tremendous fit for ETSU. Dr. Sander has served his student-athletes well by hiring a proven championship culture builder who truly cares about her players on and off the court!
John Currie, Wake Forest Director of Athletics