Walter A. Brown
Brown in 1960
Born(1905-02-10)February 10, 1905
DiedSeptember 7, 1964(1964-09-07) (aged 59)
Occupation(s)Basketball team owner
Ice hockey coach and team owner
Known forBoston Celtics
HonorsHockey Hall of Fame (1962)
Basketball Hall of Fame (1965)
IIHF Hall of Fame (1997)

Walter Augustine Brown (February 10, 1905 – September 7, 1964) was an American sports executive. He was the founder and original owner of the Boston Celtics,[1] operated the Boston Garden-Arena Corporation, and served as president of the Boston Athletic Association. In ice hockey, he coached the Boston Olympics to five Eastern Hockey League championships, owned the Boston Bruins, and served as president of the International Ice Hockey Federation. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965, and IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997.


He was born in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, and attended Boston Latin from 1922 to 1923 and Phillips Exeter Academy from 1923 to 1926. After succeeding his father, George V. Brown, as manager of the Boston Garden, he stated his belief that, "Boston should have a basketball team." Taking a mortgage out on his home, he founded the Celtics in 1945. He then helped to found the Basketball Association of America in 1946, and was instrumental in merging the BAA and the National Basketball League into the National Basketball Association in 1949.[citation needed]

Brown ran the Celtics as a subsidiary of the Boston Garden-Arena Corporation until 1950, when he bought the team in his own name and took on former Providence Steamrollers owner Lou Pieri as a minority partner. He oversaw the transformation of the Celtics into a dynasty, as they won six championships in the seven years before his death. He is buried in St. John the Evangelist Cemetery in Hopkinton, Massachusetts.[citation needed]

Brown was the President of the Boston Athletic Association from 1941 to 1964.[2] In 1951 during the height of the Korean War, Brown denied Koreans entry into the Boston Marathon. He stated: "While American soldiers are fighting and dying in Korea, every Korean should be fighting to protect his country instead of training for marathons. As long as the war continues there, we positively will not accept Korean entries for our race on April 19."[3]


Brown also played an important role in the development of hockey; he coached the amateur Boston Olympics to five Eastern Hockey League championships and guided the USA to its first gold medal in the Ice Hockey World Championships in 1933. In February 1940, Brown and eight other arena managers organized the Ice Capades.[4] In 1951, he bought the financially strapped Boston Bruins; he had been the Bruins' landlord since becoming the Garden's manager. He served as the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation from 1954 to 1957.[citation needed]

The Walter A. Brown International Hockey Tournament was held in Colorado Springs, Colorado from 1964-1968. That "Brown Trophy" can be seen in at least one publication from the Pikes Peak region.[citation needed]


The Boston Celtics retired uniform number "1" in Brown's honor in 1964.

Brown was honored by having the NBA championship trophy named after him after he died in 1964.[citation needed]

He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1962, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965, and IIHF Hall of Fame in 1997, its inaugural year.[5][6]

See also


  1. ^ "Significant Owners: Walter A. Brown (Celtics)" at Real Clear Sports
  2. ^ Pave, Marvin (April 17, 2008). "Legacy on the line". Boston Globe.
  3. ^ Sport: Banned in Boston. Time, February 12, 1951.
  4. ^ Hamilton, F. F. Jr. (1974). Ice Capades "years of entertainment". Washington, DC: Penchant Publishing Company, Ltd.
  5. ^ "2.6 Walter Brown". Hockey Hall of Fame. 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2023.
  6. ^ "Basketball Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
Preceded byGeorge V. Brown General Manager of the Boston Garden 1937–64 Succeeded byEdward J. Powers Preceded byClarence A. Barnes President of the Boston Athletic Association 1940–64 Succeeded byWill Cloney Preceded byFirst President of the Boston Celtics 1946–63 Succeeded byLouis Pieri Preceded byFirst Boston Celtics general manager 1946–1951 Succeeded byRed Auerbach Preceded byBoston Garden-Arena Corporation Boston Celtics principal owner 1950–1964 Succeeded byLouis Pieri and Marjorie Brown Preceded byWeston Adams, Sr. President of the Boston Bruins 1951–64 Succeeded byWeston Adams, Sr. Preceded byFritz Kraatz President of the IIHF 1954–57 Succeeded byBunny Ahearne