With lots of experience and roots in the South, Isaac Brown fits the profile of Wichita State’s men’s basketball assistant coaches.
Brown, 45, is the latest addition to coach Gregg Marshall’s staff. He will start work on Monday after a successful three-season run at Louisiana Tech under Mike White. His salary is $112,000.
“Mike White tells me he does everything,” Marshall said. “He can really coach. He can really recruit. He does a great job developing relationships with the players, and people in general, which is what this business is about.”
Brown will feel at home with assistants Greg Heiar and Steve Forbes, with whom he shares a similar resume and connections from the recruiting trail. He recruited players coached by Heiar and Forbes during their days at junior colleges. Heiar came to WSU from Southern Mississippi and coached at Chipola (Fla.) College. Forbes came to WSU from Northwest Florida State College and coached at Tennessee.
Brown met Marshall when he coached Okaloosa-Walton Community College, now Northwest Florida State College.
“It’s a good fit,” Brown said. “I’ve been a fan of Wichita State’s since those guys have been there.”
Brown coached wings and guards for the Bulldogs, who went 29-8 and played in the NIT. He worked as associate head coach at Arkansas State in 2010-11 and spent three seasons at Arkansas (2007-10) under coach John Pelphrey. He served on Pelphrey’s staff at South Alabama for four seasons and also coached at Pearl River (Miss.) Community College and Okaloosa-Walton.
WSU’s recent success allows it to hire a different level of coach than it might have a few years ago. It is more than an entry-level job for young coaches.
“There are a lot of guys that wanted this job,” Brown said. “They reached out to me and I thought it was a really, really good fit. Coach Marshall is just a winner. That should be his middle name.”
Brown replaces Chris Jans, now the head coach at Bowling Green. Jans left WSU in March and Marshall was in no hurry to sift through applicants. WSU kept recruiting (adding Sunrise Christian center Rauno Nurger) and started practices down one coach.
“I always take my time,” Marshall said. “I try to get somebody who can bring a little something different to the staff. Greg Heiar knows Isaac very well and speaks really highly of him.”
Louisiana Tech’s guards led the Bulldogs to a share of the Conference USA title and the second round of the NIT. Junior Kenneth Smith earned all-conference and Defensive Player of the Year honors. Sophomore Alex Hamilton earned third-team all-conference honors.
While Brown and Marshall haven’t discussed specific duties, Brown considers coaching guards his specialty. He played guard at Mississipi Gulf Coast Community College, Texas A&M and Louisiana-Monroe.
At Arkansas, he coached Patrick Beverly, who made the NBA’s All-Defensive second team. Beverly got to the NBA with hustle, and it will be Brown’s job to pull similar effort from the Shockers starting Monday.
He watched enough of WSU in recent seasons to know that’s expected.
“They just play so hard and that's what I like about them,” he said.