Sarah Behn conducts a recent UML practice. SUN/DAVID BROW
Sarah Behn conducts a recent UML practice. SUN/DAVID BROW (David H. Brow)

LOWELL -- Sarah Behn was introduced Wednesday morning as the new women's basketball coach at Brown University, moving on after three seasons at UMass Lowell.

Behn oversaw UMass Lowell's transition to Division 1 this past season, when the River Hawks, playing a brutal schedule, finished 5-23 overall, 4-12 in the America East Conference.

During the press conference introducing her at Brown, Behn thanked UMass Lowell, and specifically athletic director Dana Skinner.

"It's a university on the move, and I was very proud to be a part of it -- going from (Division) 2 to 1, and learning a lot, and meeting great people, and coaching great players," said Behn. "I will be forever grateful for my time there, and for the fact that it did help open the door to Brown."

Behn succeeds Jean Burr, who retired in March after compiling a 324-379 record over 26 years as Brown's head coach, including 10-18 this past season. Burr attended Wednesday's press conference.

Behn was hired by UMass Lowell in April 2011 to replace Kathy O'Neil, whose contract was not renewed after 26 seasons. The River Hawks under Behn went 29-25 over their final two seasons in Division 2, including 18-9 in 2012-13, which was their best record since 2002-03.

Behn, a former Foxboro High and Boston College star who lives in Foxboro, previously coached Framingham State (1997-2000) and Franklin Pierce (2000-2002). She also coached Foxboro High for seven seasons before taking the UMass Lowell job.


"We were drawn to her experiences of having coached at Division 1, 2 and 3 institutions," said Brown athletic director Jack Hayes, "and leading UMass Lowell through the transition from Division 2 to Division 1, which is an incredibly challenging task. She saw college basketball at all levels, and she was able to build winning programs."

In a statement posted on UMass Lowell's website, Skinner said, "Everybody connected with the athletics department and the University wishes (Behn) nothing but success at Brown. We will immediately start a national search and move as quickly as possible to find a new coach to sustain our momentum in Division 1."

During the interview process, Behn was asked what attracted her to Brown. "Those answers are so many," she said on Wednesday. "It's Brown. It's the Ivy League. It's the tradition, the academics, the potential, the city of Providence. (It's) my family's connections to Brown."

Those family connections include Behn's father, Barry, who played basketball at Brown from 1960-62.

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