Meet Eric Brown

Here's a chance to further get to know the newest addition to the Iowa State men's basketball coaching staff.

Deace: My first question is an obvious one. Why Iowa State?

Brown: Iowa State, I believe, is one of the up-and-coming programs in the entire country. I think it's one of the hottest programs in the country. You're looking at a head coach that's a tremendous person, family man, great recruiter, and great teacher of the game. Just from A to Z, you look at the program, the people, the players coming back, the tradition, I think it's one of the best programs in the country.

Deace: When were you first contacted about the vacancy over in Ames?

Brown: I had heard that Bob Sundvold left so you kind of follow these things in the coaching business. I was aware of it then. I really didn't start pursuing anything until the end of our season and the end of the Iowa State season. Things gradually progressed from there and we moved forward. My wife and I came out a few weeks ago and enjoyed our visit and now we're here.

Deace: When you were coaching in Los Angeles you were in a media mecca. You're at USC which frankly isn't a great basketball school, but certainly is a national name in collegiate sports because of what the football program has done. You come out here to Iowa and of course people have preconceived notions about what Iowa is like, what we do here, and that we're a bunch of hayseeds and all that other cliched stuff. You brought the wife. What was your original inclination about Ames and Central Iowa?

Brown: We had both traveled a lot in and out of the country, but we'd never been to Iowa. We were pleasantly surprised starting with the scenery and getting to know the people. There are wonderful people here and great family communities. We were pleased with all that and that was something we weren't aware of because we'd never been to Iowa.

Deace: You've coached a couple years at USC with current ISU assistant coach Damon Archibald. How much of a role did he play in your hiring here?

Brown: He played a big role. Damon and I are friends and I knew Coach Morgan from his Long Beach State days and being in Southern California together, but Damon helped that relationship grow because he was a link between Coach Morgan and I. Damon is a very good friend and he's a great coach and thought of very highly in this business. I think it was just a great fit all around with Coach Morgan and myself and Coach Archibald and myself.

Deace: You said that you thought this was one of the up-and-coming programs in the United States. Could you quantify that statement for us a little bit?

Brown: Just look at the progress the program has made under Coach Morgan. The first year they went to the NIT and went far in the NIT and then last year they made the NCAA tournament before losing to the eventual national champions. Just look at the roster coming back. All the perimeter guys are coming back for the most part. They've lost some depth on the front lines, but I think the program is building momentum not only with wins and losses but credibility with a head coach that's not only thought of highly as a coach, but as a person. I think the program is headed in all the right directions.

Deace: You said that you knew that a coaching change was imminent at USC because of what happened to Henry Bibby. So did you follow the other team that wears cardinal and gold in Ames?

Brown: When you have friends in the business you always follow what they're doing. Whether there was an opening or not I followed Iowa State because I knew Damon and Coach Morgan.

Deace: Wayne was hardly the first choice for this job originally. I don't know that anybody had any idea they'd have this kind of record his first two years. The only other coach at ISU to ever do this was Tim Floyd, who took over at your old school USC. Most of us here knew he'd be able to recruit because of his reputation, but we're shocked at his proficiency as a bench coach and how he's changed the Big 12 with the zone defenses. Are you surprised at all?

Brown: I am not because Coach Morgan has a great skill for relating to people and dealing with kids on and off the court. Never mind the coaching or recruiting, it's his ability to deal with people – in particular young adults who always have something going on – that has served him well.

Deace: Speaking of former ISU coach Tim Floyd, what was the reaction out in Los Angeles to his hiring as the new men's basketball coach at USC?

Brown: When he was hired there was a lot of excitement. He has a great reputation and he's going to do a great job out there.

Deace: Are you ready for Hilton Magic? Has Coach Archibald prepared you for it?

Brown: It's one of the first things he and I talked about when I went for the job, and to be honest it's one of the most attractive things about this job. People in this community are just so wise in terms of their knowledge of the game. I don't know if I'm ready for it, but I'm looking forward to it.

Deace: You're coming from a school that doesn't even play its home games in an on-campus arena, so Hilton Magic is probably going to be culture shock for you.

Brown: It will be. The L.A. Sports Arena was tough at times, but the home court advantage at Iowa State is one of the best in the country.

Deace: You also have to realize that you're going to face greater media scrutiny in Des Moines (the 89th largest media market) than you did in Los Angeles (the 2nd largest media market) because we heap so much attention on the Cyclones than they do the Trojans. ISU is the fish bowl around here.

Brown: I absolutely agree. There are so many things going on in Los Angeles between pro sports and the entertainment industry that it's tough to make headlines, but what's exciting about Iowa State is that it's in a great basketball state and it gets great coverage.

Deace: Tell us about your duties at USC. I know Damon came in with a reputation as a defensive whiz after his work for the Trojans, so did you handle the offense?

Brown: When Damon and I were together he spearheaded the defense and I spearheaded the offense. We had a lot of responsibilities and say-so on the floor during the games. I'm not sure yet what duties I'll have at ISU but I'll contribute any way I can.

Deace: We want to hit you, the new guy up for some inside information. You may not know anything specific about the highly-touted seven-man recruiting class they just finished signing, but based on your access to second-hand info inside the program is Theo Davis the real deal or not?

Brown: He is a very good basketball player with tremendous potential and a high-ceiling for growth. He's going to be a very good basketball player, but he needs to gain some weight – like all freshman do – and make the transition from high school to college. It's a big transition, even for the McDonald's All-Americans.

Deace: Let me throw the same question at you in regards to Shawn Taggart. There is speculation he could even be a NBA prospect down the road with some added muscle.

Brown: I love Shawn Taggart. I actually saw him play a lot during the July recruiting period last year and he is really good. He is a versatile player with a tremendous upside. He's very skilled on the perimeter and in the paint. He also needs to add some weight.

(Publisher's note: this Q&A was transcribed from a recent interview conducted on 1460-KXNO, the flagship of the Cyclone Radio Network.)


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