FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- Dave Brown paces along the baseline, arms crossed, a piece of paper folded the long way, into thirds, and tucked in the band of his sweats.
He moves slowly, deliberately, yet with energy in his step, his exuberance apparent in his body language and banter with the Northern Arizona players on the court.
"Wooo!" Brown shouts out after one shoots an air ball on a left-handed jump-hook. "I didn't know you had that in your game!"
Brown is, at 70, the second-oldest men's basketball coach in Division I. Taking over last month, he is 21 years removed from his previous coaching job and that was with a women's team. He has five decades on most of his players, a generational gap that's more like a chasm.
There may not be a better person to pull the Lumberjacks through a difficult season.
A member of the NAU Athletics Hall of Fame and longtime director of NAU's Walkup Skydome athletic complex, Brown was plucked from his duties as a color commentator to lead the team after Mike Adras abruptly left the program on Dec. 9.
A career builder and fixer of sports programs, Brown is a grandfather with an NBA GM for a son-in-law and a positive, infectious attitude that makes the people around him feel better about themselves.
"He motivates people by encouraging them, that's kind of his style," Northern Arizona President John Haeger said. "He gets them to play well because they want to play well and ... all the years he's been at NAU, he's always been close to the student-athletes and looks out for their welfare."
A former basketball and track athlete at New Mexico State, Brown began his career at Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, where he was athletic director, coached basketball, golf and football, and helped the school build its first gym.
From there, Brown moved to Yavapai College in Prescott, becoming a founding member of the faculty in 1970. He served as the school's first athletic director and men's basketball coach, and ran the physical education department.
Brown led the Roughriders to a fourth-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association championships and was 284-119 in his 13 years there, coaching the women's team at the same time.
While at Yavapai, Brown helped create an athletics program from scratch, building another gym along the way, and served as athletic director for a school that won a national championship in baseball.
He had a similar role after arriving at Northern Arizona.
Brown began coaching the women's team in 1983 and has been the director of the Walkup Skydome for 22 years, coordinating events, a recent renovation of the stadium and serving as the liaison with the Arizona Cardinals, who provide a huge financial boon for the Flagstaff area by holding training camp in the mountain town.
Brown is, in a short definition, a fixer, someone who can be counted on to step in and get things done.
"It just seems to happen wherever I've gone," Brown said. "It's been fun. For whatever reasons, I've been involved in a lot of things and I've enjoyed every bit."
Brown inherited a tough situation when Adras left to pursue other opportunities.
The Lumberjacks were struggling after losing leading scorer Cameron Jones, just 2-7 when Adras left. Brown knew the players from serving as the color commentator for three seasons, but hadn't coached since he led the NAU women's team in 1989-90.
The Lumberjacks won their first game under Brown, beating Cal State-Bakersfield, and followed with one of the program's biggest wins in recent years, knocking off Arizona State on the road.
Since then it's been a bit of a struggle.
Young and with no go-to scorer, the Lumberjacks have a losing record in the Big Sky Conference.
No matter what has happened on the court, though, Brown has remained upbeat, determined to get his players to enjoy themselves in what he sees as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play Division I college basketball.
"He's a character out there, so it's fun to be out there with him," NAU point guard Stallon Saldivar said. "It's definitely an enjoyable environment. He's got that up-beat attitude, always trying to make us laugh."
So what about the generation gap? Brown has coached longer than his players have been alive and was born long before many of their grandparents.
He makes the connection with his players with his own brand of charisma, using old-fashioned and made-up sayings -- shuck-and-jive is a favorite -- and self-deprecating references to his age.
Brown also has kept up with the times and the gadgets in it, not to motion speaking a language all his players can understand: basketball.
"You would think there would be (a big generational gap), but coach has got swag," junior guard Michael Dunn said. "He knows a lot about us and what goes on now. He's got an iPhone, he knows what's going on."
As Dunn was talking, Brown, almost on cue, walked by.
"And look at how he's dressed," Dunn said, pointing to Brown, sporting a blue workout shirt and black sweat pants with turquoise lining the pockets above a new pair of sneakers.
"I can teach them a thing or two about swag and how to dress," Brown said, eliciting chuckles from the two players.
So where does Brown go from here?
He could finish out the season and just walk away. Brown is, after all, at an age when many people have long since been retired. Only Jackson State, with 74-year-old Tevester Anderson, has an older coach.
That wouldn't work for him. He loves basketball -- his son-in-law Gar Forman is general manager of the NBA's Chicago Bulls -- and being around the student-athletes at NAU too much.
Befitting his personality, Brown says he'll finish out the season and see what happens next, enjoying the ride for as long as he can.
"I've looked a retirements, but right now I want to try to do the best job I can to help these kids grow in their basketball experience," he said. "And hopefully, there's something I can teach them through my years of experience and help them grow. And it'll be a good education experience for a 70-year-old man."
Even one as young as Brown.