The state of Wichita on Friday removed the interim title of coach Isaac Brown, agreeing in principle with a five-year deal with a longtime assistant who moved to the top of the American Gymnastics Conference with a chaotic program this season.
The Shockers (13-4, 9-2) spend the weekend in a narrow conference lead, just one percentage point ahead of No. 12 Houston, who won last week for one of the biggest home victories in school history. They have not lost since January 21, winning five in a row, before reversing COVID-19 breaks in other programs that have forced four delays.
Brown became the first Black Sea coach to lead the Kansas Division I program on the eve of the season when the school’s winning leader, Greg Marshall, resigned a few years ago on verbal and physical violence charges.
The “shockers” watched as seven players moved to last year’s team and found themselves in a general rebuilding direction. But with the help of longtime coach Billy Kennedy, who came to the airport as an assistant, Brown took the shockers to the brink of next season’s conference title, a possible venue for next month’s NCAA tournament.
“I have not yet spoken about the conference tournament at the beginning of the season. I never talked about the championship. “I never talked about going to the NCAA,” Brown said recently. “I was talking about getting better in every game, but now we have two games left. I want these guys to stay focused, so I start to celebrate the ‘championship’ a lot more because we know what it is now. endangered. And I just want to make sure these guys are ready. ”
Following the postponement of the games against East Carolina և SMU, the shockers are expected to leave before visiting Tula on March 3. They would finish the regular season at the Temple three days before the make-up games were scheduled.
“You know, it’s something you can’t control,” Brown said. “I feel sorry for all the teams that had to give up COVID. We went through the same situation. We went to South Dakota, these kids were training, and suddenly the next day they were FOLLOWING. »
Brown, 51, spent six seasons with Marshall, helping the Shockers go 170-54 in four straight NCAA tournaments and heading to the NIT Semifinals in 2019. The former Louisiana-Monroe nominee has coached at Louisiana Tech, Arkansas, Arkansas and South Alabama during his 19-year career.
His ever-positive outlook, as well as his acquaintance with the state of Wichita, was exactly what the shockers needed when Sports Director Daron Boatright appointed him as interim coach. The program has watched the departure of some of its best players over the last few years, welcomed the transfer of some freshmen, and needed someone to stabilize the program.
“When we first had our first team meet,” Brown said, “we told them, ‘This is your team.’ We want you to control this team, to be the leader. We are going to make sure the boys are organized. We are going to make sure that the boys are in the suburbs. We are going to make sure you guys are ready to compete, but we want you to take charge of this team. ”
It turns out that the shockers are on a solid footing for at least the next five years.
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