Californian Brown Takes a Liking to Ames

After spending the last four seasons with Henry Bibby's staff at USC, Eric Brown joined the Cyclone family in May.

For Eric Brown this was what he had waited for, a chance to coach in one of the best conferences in the nation and with a team on the rise.


So when the ISU men's basketball team had an opening last off-season Brown jumped at the opportunity to become part of the Cyclone family.


For the last four seasons Brown was a member of Henry Bibby's staff at USC, prior to that he spent three seasons at Cal State-Northridge.


"I had never been to Iowa," Brown said. "The first time I was out here was for my interview."


Once was all it took to sell Brown. Being familiar with integral parts of the ISU coaching staff didn't hurt either, Brown coached for two seasons with Cyclone assistant coach Damon Archibald and coached against ISU head coach Wayne Morgan while he was at Long Beach State.


Brown heard about the ISU opening through the coaching grape-vine, but also received a call from Archibald.


"You know the coaching fraternity, you kind of hear about [jobs]," Brown said. "It's a small-knit community so when there's an opening at this school or this school and there's movement everybody hears about it."


Everyone also hears about you when there's success and the ISU basketball program is on the rise, Brown said he often heard about the Cyclones accomplishments in Southern California.


"They had a great season last year and they're winning," Brown said. "Any team that wins in any part of the country you're going to hear about nationally."


Brown is a native Californian, he's lived in the Golden State '98 percent' of his life, but he's found a new home in Ames.


"I like it," he said. "It's a great change of pace. It's the best group of people I've ever been around. There's no traffic, clean air and it takes me three minutes to get to work in the morning.


"It's also a great job. You talk about college basketball in this part of the country and it's a great place to have a job. It's a great staff. I work for a great coach in Coach Morgan. I like it a lot; I like everything about it."


Coach Morgan is a recruiting guru on the east coast landing players such as Curtis Stinson, Will Blalock, Tasheed Carr, Rahshon Clark and Shawn Taggart; Brown hopes his ties to the opposite coast can produce the same results for the Cyclones.


"That's my strong point because I'm from there," Brown said. "So I hope to get some players from that area and open their eyes and let them know what this place is all about.


"I didn't understand until I got here what it was all about. You hear about it and you hear about Iowa but you get here and you see the people and you see the atmosphere and you see what it's all about; it's a great place to go to college for four years."


Brown and Mike Mennenga got hired within two weeks of each other, their families remained back home while the two men moved to Ames and got to spend some quality time together.


"We lived in an apartment complex together for two and a half months," Brown said. "We called ourselves the ‘basketball bachelors.'"


The duo spent a lot of time together, they'd go to work at Hilton Coliseum in the morning, stay until late evening, go home and work the phones again, but in-between they had some time to share some ‘good basketball' stories.


"It helped us become closer and that's helped us here in the work environment," Brown said.

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