Brown, whose first head coaching gig came at Austin Peay in 1979 at age 29, made it official Wednesday when he announced his retirement from college coaching.
"I've had a blast for 43 years," the 65-year-old Brown said. "This is just the right time to do this. I knew when I came to Tennessee Tech that this would be it."
The first coach in NCAA history to lose 200 games, Brown went 136-211-1 during a 31-year head coaching career that also featured stops at Cincinnati, Rice, his alma mater Vanderbilt, UAB and finally in his native Cookeville.
He was 42-60 with the Golden Eagles, who finished 7-4 and won the Ohio Valley Conference title in 2011. However, Tennessee Tech failed to win more than five games in each of the four seasons since and finished 4-7 this year. In August 2014, the school extended his contract through 2019, but Brown was ready to go now.
"I had a goal when I came here, and that was to win a championship," he said. "We set the program up that way and it happened ... but I didn't want to leave after that.
"It would have left the cupboard bare, and I didn't want to do that. Now it's back up, and ready to win another in the next couple of years, but I don't think I'm that guy."
Though Brown is leaving the college sidelines he talked of perhaps finding work in the NFL, as an athletic director, in the broadcast media or even as a high school coach.
"I've retired but I've not quit working," he said.
Athletic director Mark Wilson said assistant Dewayne Alexander would serve as acting coach but the search for a permanent head coach will begin immediately.