It's not easy to replace a coaching legend. But Isaac Brown believes he can.
Brown was named Wichita State's interim head coach on Nov. 17 following the resignation of Gregg Marshall after multiple allegations of verbal and physical abuse.
In 13 seasons with the Shockers, Marshall posted an overall record of 331-121, was named Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year three seasons in a row and led the Shockers to the Final Four in 2013. So, Brown has some enormous shoes to fill. But the long-time assistant said he is ready for the challenge.
"I know this is a difficult time for our kids, but we will come together and continue to compete," said Brown, who has been a Shockers assistant since the 2014-15 season. "We have a great group of kids and staff, and we will work hard each day to represent our school and our city."
Wichita State, which couldn't play in last week's Crossover Classic due to multiple positive COVID-19 tests, is scheduled to open its 2020-21 season Wednesday against Oral Roberts (1-1).
The Golden Eagles, who tipped off their season by losing at Missouri 91-64 last Wednesday, routed Rogers State 93-63 on Saturday in their home opener, led by Kevin Obanor's 18 points and 11 rebounds.
Oral Roberts returns just two of its top five leading scorers from a year ago, when it finished 17-14 while competing in the Summit League. Obanor is one returnee, while the other is Max Abmas, who like Obanor is averaging 17.5 points per game. Both players earned preseason All-Summit League honors.
"I think Kevin will be a lot more comfortable because he has a lot more shooters around him this year," said fourth-year Eagles coach Paul Mills. "That allows him to not have to worry so much about double teams."
Meanwhile, Tyson Etienne (9.4 points per game) and Dexter Dennis (9.2) are the top returning scorers for Wichita State, which finished 23-8 last season after getting off to a 15-1 start. The Shockers are seeking their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018.
Brown, 51, is in his 19th season as a Division 1 coach. He also has former Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy on his staff as an assistant. Brown has had coaching stops at South Alabama, Arkansas, Arkansas State and Louisiana Tech.
Brown is eager to make the most of his opportunity.
"I haven't had much time to reflect on it," he said. "I'm honored and flattered, but I'm trying to make sure these guys are prepared."
--Field Level Media
|Oral Roberts||Wichita St.|
|11/23/19||ORU 59||WICH 68||59||34||32.3||68||38||48.3|
|Oral Roberts Off vs Wichita St. Defense|
64.0 Points For
0.0 Points Against
|Wichita St. Off vs Oral Roberts Defense|
0.0 Points For
91.0 Points Against