By Kathryn Arena ’21 / Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Just when Eastern Connecticut State University alumnus Tarchee Brown ’18 of Rockville thought that his basketball career was over, a special opportunity came his way. Over the course of the last year, the former Brown has been playing overseas for the Irish semi-pro team the UL Eagles. The team is directly associated with the University of Limerick.
Former Eastern All-America guard Mike Garrow, who has had significant success playing overseas since graduating in 2014, initiated a conversation with Brown back in early 2018 about a chance to play overseas in Ireland. The 6-3 guard – Eastern’s all-time leading scorer and only first-team All-America -- jumped at the opportunity by mid-July before heading overseas for preseason play in August of the same year.
“I was very nervous, but I was anxious as well because I wanted to keep playing. Having the opportunity was so exciting but also scary,” says Brown, the NABC New England Player-of-the-Year as a senior who led the Warriors to four straight Little East Conference regular-season titles and to LEC tournament championships in each of his final two years.
Moving across the world is no easy task for any athlete. Adapting to a new country with a different culture was hard for Brown, a former four-time, first-team All-Little East Conference selection. Finding his place in a new environment with new coaches and teammates was emotionally challenging. He recalls struggling with the lack of friends and family in close proximity. “I cried a couple times,” he said. “Being away from home was hard; it was tough going over there. There was nobody to hang out with.”
Although the initial weeks were hard, Brown became close with many of his teammates. He even considers some of them his best friends.
While overseas Brown also had to adjust to a very different dynamic of the game itself. During his time at Eastern, Brown had games at least twice a week and regular organized practices filled out the rest of the week. In his recent season overseas, his team only had organized practices two days per week with one game on the weekend. That being said, on days when there were no organized practices, Brown was responsible for working on his individual game.
The UL Eagles have a long history in Ireland and went through various names before coining their most recent name, The UL Sport Eagles. This past season the team played in the Southern Conference of the Men’s Division 1 League. The team often traveled within the country to cities such as Dublin, Galway and Cork. Brown and the Eagles finished their season with a record of 8-16 under head coach Thomas Walsh.
As the only American on the team, Brown knew that he had to make an impact on the court. “I just did whatever it took to help my team win,” he says. “That consisted sometimes of me playing point guard and sometimes playing (center). I played multiple positions throughout the games.” Brown got accustomed to playing with all of his teammates, and their bond proved to be strong. Preseason talk predicted that the team would only win 1-3 games, but the team ended the season with eight strong wins and a trip to the playoffs.
When Brown was not playing basketball, he spent his free time coaching local teams. He coached a team of young children as well as the University of Limerick women’s basketball team. Coaching a college team was no easy task, but Brown saw it as a great opportunity to try coaching women.
Home for the summer, Brown helped Eastern men’s basketball coach Bill Geitner run week-long basketball camps at Geissler Gymnasium. In the meantime, he is waiting to hear back from the Eagles about sponsorships and funding for the upcoming season. If they hit their goal, there will be conversations about bringing Brown back to Ireland for another year.