Brad Underwood Is OSU's Next Coach

Brad Underwood, who has directed Stephen F. Austin to an impressive 89-14 record the past three seasons, is taking over as head coach of the Oklahoma State basketball team, OSU athletics director Mike Holder announced Monday night.

Brad Underwood, who has directed Stephen F. Austin to an impressive 89-14 record the past three seasons, is taking over as head coach of the Oklahoma State basketball team, OSU athletics director Mike Holder announced Monday night.

The 52-year-old Underwood is taking over the program after OSU and former head coach Travis Ford parted ways last Friday.

Underwood has compiled an impressive 89-14 record in his three years as head coach at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas, including a 28-6 record this season in which they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“There’s not enough adjectives to describe how excited I am for the opportunity to coach where some of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball have cut their teeth,” Underwood said. “Oklahoma State has unparalleled tradition, history and culture. The fan support, the noise and the home court advantage is what I remember most about Gallagher-Iba Arena, and I couldn’t be more excited to be a part of that now.

"I played in Gallagher-Iba back in the Big Eight days, and then going back as an opposing coach, I can tell you that it’s one of the best venues in the nation. We’re going to have a lot of fun, and I’m excited as heck about the opportunity to get to know the community of Stillwater, and the OSU family.”

Holder says that Underwood is a perfect fit for Oklahoma State and Stillwater.

“I named three things that I was looking for in the new head basketball coach at Oklahoma State: character, coaching style and fit,” Holder said. “Brad Underwood gets the highest marks in each of those categories.

"He played in the Big Eight for Jack Hartman, a disciple of Henry Iba. He has coached and recruited in the Big 12, and has been very successful as a head coach in one of our prime recruiting grounds in the state of Texas. K-State is a sister institution with Oklahoma State in a lot of ways, so anyone who graduates from there and lives in Manhattan is probably going to connect quickly with our fans and our people. And as for character, everyone around him speaks of him as the great friend, father and person he is. In my opinion, Brad Underwood is going to be a great fit for Oklahoma State.”

Underwood was born in McPherson, Kansas, which is not too far up I-35 from the Stillwater cut-off of State Highway 51. He went on to Kansas State and played for former Oklahoma A&M standout Jack Hartman, who played in Stillwater for the legendary Mr. Iba. Hartman later took the basketball head coaching job at Oklahoma State for one day before backing out and staying at Kansas State. That qualifies Underwood, who lettered in 1984-86, as a branch on the Henry Iba coaching tree off the solid limb of Hartman.

Underwood started his coaching career at Dodge City Community College, at least as a head coach. He went 62-60 for the Conquistadors in the tough Jayhawk Conference. He went on to coach Daytona Beach C.C., where he was 70-24 and twice earned the Mid-Florida Coach of the Year award.

From there Underwood jumped to Division I as an assistant for former Billy Tubbs assistant Jim Kerwin. Kerwin was also at one time the head coach at Stillwater High School, so another loose connection to OSU and Stillwater. Underwood then returned to his alma mater and served as a director of operations for Bob Huggins at Kansas State. When Huggins left, Underwood stayed as an assistant for promoted assistant Frank Martin. Martin moved on to South Carolina and Underwood went with him.

In 2013, Stephen F. Austin lost head coach Danny Kaspar to Texas State and the Lumberjacks hired Underwood. His first season, 2013-14, Underwood led SFA to a 32-3 record with wins over Marshall and James Madison in the non-conference and then an 18-0 record in winning the Southland Conference. Underwood was the Southland Conference Coach of the Year and in the NCAA the Lumberjacks upset Virginia Commonwealth 77-75 in overtime before losing 77-60 to UCLA in trying to get to the Sweet Sixteen.

The next season, 2014-15, SFA beat Memphis in the Las Vegas Invitational 64-62 and went on to a 29-5 campaign, again winning the Southland with a 17-1 record in the league. The Lumberjacks' NCAA Tournament was a one-and-done as they lost to Utah in a close game 57-50.

This season fans know from fresh memory that Underwood and his team beat his mentor in Bob Huggins' West Virginia Mountaineers, a three-seed beaten by a number 14 seed. That was, of course, followed by Sunday's one-point loss to Notre Dame.

Underwood is 89-14 in his three seasons at Stephen F. Austin. He has recruited Texas, he has coached in smaller communities, he is a son of the midlands, and a former player for a former Oklahoma A&M and Iba legacy. His conference record is 53-1 in three seasons. He is married. His wife's name is Susan and he has three children, Tyler, Katie, and Ashley.

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