By Kaelanne Jordan, email@example.com
Enid Browne, a former T&T senior netball coach, is one of the most respected names in the netball fraternity with a remarkable 16-year elite career which has brought her four world championships, five national league titles and most recently the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) for community service and sport.
Now retired, Browne is arguably one of the greatest ambassadors for the sport and she continues to channel her many talents through coaching and her mentorship at Morvant/Laventille Secondary, Beetham Primary, and her involvement in the Corpus Christi RC Church (Success/Laventille) Children’s Ministry.
Born January 1937, the last of her parents’ five children, Browne’s first involvement happened by chance, as the then Diego Martin Government student was regularly invited to play alongside her eldest sister Daphne and her team, since they were usually short of one player. “‘Browne sister, come and run for us’,” they would ask, “ ‘and Browne sister wouldn’t want nothing nicer than that’,” and “that’s how it started,” she shared during an interview with Catholic News.
Browne’s budding skills did not go unnoticed as then Rosehill RC principal, Ursilla Busby invited her to join the school’s league netball team, Perseverance. Her netball pursuits continued on the courts of Providence Intermediate, after which she moved on to Providence Netball Club competing in the B division Port of Spain league.
“After a while I came into my own as a player…. From there I started to show that I had potential because it wasn’t long after I was called in for trials for senior national teams.” She continued, “The first time I reach close, the tournament was here and I was a standby. The team was selected, three standbys and I was one of the standbys but I didn’t fuss, because the tournament was right here so I was able to see all the games,” she said.
World tournaments were held every four years and Caribbean competitions yearly.
In 1958, Browne was selected for T&T national team for the regional championships in Dominica; St Lucia (1959); St Vincent (1960) and Barbados (1961). It was also in 1961, the then 24-year-old joined well-known players Bernice Roach, Gloria Joseph, Althea Luces-Thomas, Grace Mauge, Gloria Pierre and Inez Browne and founded Carib Senators Netball Club which would go on to produce several of T&T’s most famous netballers. The Senators team dominated the Port of Spain Netball League with Browne at the forefront in the wing defence, wing attack and centre court positions.
In 1963, she played at the World Netball Championships, England, an achievement she lists among her major highlights. Browne revealed at that time, South Africa was banned because they did not have any ‘coloured’ players on their team. When the ban was lifted, it signalled South Africa’s return to the sport, and “the first team to play [and beat] South Africa is Trinidad.”
Browne’s stellar performances on the courts led her to be appointed captain of the T&T senior team ahead of the second World Championships in 1967 in Australia.
She also continued to guide the Senators to many titles including Caribbean Netball Championships St Lucia, 1970; Antigua, 1971; St Kitts, 1972; Grenada, 1973; Trinidad and Tobago, 1974, and World Netball Championships Jamaica, 1971; Auckland, New Zealand, 1975. The Senators were also winners of the Port of Spain Netball League in 1965–1967, 1969–1972, and 1976.
A graduate of the Catholic Teachers Training College and teacher by profession, Browne assumed her first real coaching role when she guided Mucurapo Girls’ RC Primary to the National Primary School Championships and later taught at Mt Lambert RC, St Joseph’s RC, Fatima RC, Curepe and St Rose’s RC schools.
Her other achievements include Teacher’s National Award (1971), WITCO Sportswoman of the Year Award (1972), Induction in the WITCO Hall of Fame (1987) and a Scholarship in Physical Education, Chelsea University and Leeds University, England in 1978.
In 1971, Browne was appointed as part of the first cohort of teachers to integrate the junior secondary system at Chaguanas Junior Secondary and transferred with those students into the senior secondary school system, to the St Augustine Senior Comprehensive where she helped establish the dominance of the “Green Machine” in netball and football disciplines.
Browne would take on coaching duties at Chaguanas from 1972 until 1976 earning them the Junior Secondary Schools Championships title. Her tenure at St Augustine began in 1976 during which she led the team to Senior Comprehensive School Championships titles in 1982, 1983 and 1988.
In 1974, she played her final Caribbean Netball Championships before officially retiring from competitive netball. At that time, Browne had not only coached the Carib Senators Netball teams to several championships but also managed to produce seven players for the T&T national team in 1977, as an appointed official of the Port of Spain Netball League (POSNL).
As 1980 progressed, Browne expanded her skill set becoming a qualified basketball referee and netball coach with certification in volleyball, table tennis and tennis.
Though ‘retired’, her involvement in the sport continued with the development of the CHIPS (Climbing Higher in Pursuit of Success) Netball Club and she is considered a “godmother” to many in the netball fraternity.
When asked if she believes netball is appreciated locally, Browne repeated, “If you don’t push yourself who will push you?” “You hearing anything on the papers about netball?” she asked, adding “I think it is that the people who are in charge of the sport are not really pushing it, they’re pushing to get a trip…The fact is, we have talent…”
Commenting on the importance of raising an awareness in the participation of community service and sport, Browne shared, “I don’t think you know what you’re getting into when you’re doing it, but for the love and I think it’s a lot of love that comes in. You learn so much and you give so much. It is a thing that…if you go into it because you like it and you like people and you love to see people moving on, beautiful…If you’re going into it to take money that’s a different thing, “ she said.