We usually hook up at the coaches hotel for a while and visit, schmoozing in the overcrowded lobby as other coaches stream by, all wishing they were with their teams instead of each other.
In Brady's first eight years, I can remember so many times when we talked about what it would be like if he made it to the Final Four with his team.
Now he'll know.
The spotlight, as well it should be, shined brightly the past few days on his players, from the lovable Big Baby Davis to super-leaper Tyrus Thomas to super-stifler Garrett Temple to senior-leader Darrel Mitchell.
And while they're from
He took over a program depleted of players and headed to NCAA probation.
He had one great season, taking the
Tigers to the round of 16 in 2000. But there have been two embarrassing
first-round NCAA exits, including last year to UAB, too many empty seats in the
Now it's there, as evidenced by an SEC regular-season title.
The key has been building with
Brady has an occasional brusque nature and his tell-it-as-is personality has rubbed some the wrong way. And those first-round NCAA defeats were public-relations nightmares.
But throughout his nine years, players who buy into his tough system improve, from Stromile Swift to Brandon Bass to this year's phenoms, Davis and Thomas. Simply put, that's what good coaches do, make their players better.
John Brady goes to high five
Chris Johnson during Saturday's game. (SteveFranz)
John Brady goes to high five Chris Johnson during Saturday's game. (SteveFranz)
The other thing that Brady did the
past few years was finally upgrade his schedule, really making it tough this
season. Now, as a Final Four team, the sky's the limit with pre-conference
This past December and January, LSU grinded through a really challenging pre-conference slate. I was curious to see what I thought about it and called up what I wrote in this space this past January 8 after the Tigers had five defeats by a total of 11 points:
"LSU is 8-5 as it enters SEC play. Its only senior, little guard Darrel Mitchell, missed what could have been the game-winner against UConn. The thought here is that sometime late in the season, the experiences from playing such a tough schedule early will result in him making that shot.
"The tough defeats sting, but they will pay off. At 8-5, LSU will have to win 10 or more games in the league and probably a couple more in the SEC Tournament, but the prediction here is it will, largely because of the experience it gained from playing all those tough opponents."
It's nice to be right, but nicer to see a team that has worked hard and carried itself so well reap the rewards it deserves.
And it's also nice to see Brady get a chance to bring his team to the Final Four. I'll miss him as I schmooze in the lobby of the coaches' hotel.
His book, "HoopDaddy" is available at www.HoopDaddy.net.