Interview with first-year assistant coach Kyan Brown
Previous School: Oral Roberts
First-year assistant basketball coach Kyan Brown joined the staff at NDSU in May. He spent the last eight seasons at his alma mater Oral Roberts. Brown has scouted NDSU for numerous years while coaching in the Summit League and during that time, he developed a relationship with Bison head coach Dave Richman. Brown has been brought in to help with the post players at NDSU due to the departure of former assistant coach Eric Henderson, who took one of the assistant coach vacancies at South Dakota State this spring.
Brown arrives with 14 years of college basketball coaching experience. He played 77 games for the Golden Eagles during his college career. Brown started 26 games his senior year at Oral Roberts and averaged 7.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Here’s what he had to say about coming to NDSU.
Bison Illustrated: How did you develop a relationship with NDSU head coach Dave Richman?
Kyan Brown: I’ve known coach for several years. When I was assistant at Oral Roberts University and he was an assistant up here at North Dakota State, we’d bump into each other from playing and in the Summit League Tournament, and we’d bump into each other at a couple Final Fours. So we built a relationship that way. We exchanged numbers, kept in touch. At a couple Final Fours, he brought his wife and I brought my wife, and we actually all hung out down there as couples. My phone rang one day when I was driving home and he called to run something by me, and I wasn’t expecting the job offer but that’s what I got.
BI: How hard was it for you to leave a school you played for and a team you’ve coached for years?
KB: It was extremely hard. The university, I have a high respect for. But another reason was because of my boss down there, Scott Sutton, who I have a lot of respect for, not just as a basketball coach, but as a human being. At the end of the day, I think everyone has to do what’s best and what they think is best for them and their family. And in this profession, to move forward and stuff like that, I just thought we made a move that would be better for me and my family moving forward and ultimately, I don’t know when that road’s gonna come to an end. Eventually, I have a dream of one day becoming a Division I head basketball coach. I just really felt a strong relationship (with NDSU). It was time to make a move. I didn’t really want to get too stagnate in one place and it seemed like a great opportunity, especially in a town that supports us.
BI: You’ve had that outsiders view now for awhile. What did you see then and how has that perception of NDSU changed over the last five months since being here?
KB: It’s a crazy deal. We got to play once a year up here and play and experience Fargo and the fan support. We used to come up here all the time on the coldest day of the year, 40 below (laughs). I just really like the town; a real blue-collar town, a really hard-working town; people that pride themselves in working hard and toughness and support of the community. I just love the friendliness of the people. From day one, I’d always tell people that Fargo is awesome. Fargo is a big time town. People would kind of laugh and go ‘Yeah right,’ and I’d be like, I’m serious. I’ve had people call and ask what it’s like to live up here and I say it’s a gold mine, this place is an undiscovered gold mine that if people knew who this town really was, I’m tellin ya, the boom would be even bigger.
BI: What goes into the transition of getting a new coaching job and what were you doing when you arrived in May?
KB: You jump all the way in. In this business, when you get the call and you take off, it’s like you’re cutting ties with one and jumping in with the other. It’s an immediate departure. I got the call, got the job, moved up here a week later. My family was down there doing their thing and I was with the (NDSU) guys at the end of their regular school year. They’re doing summer school, I’d go home to see the family, and I was jumping right into recruiting by calling guys and, over the years, you build contacts with coaches and stuff like that. I was spreading the word, stuff like that. I asked Coach Richman what they needed, he told me what he wanted me to start looking at (for recruiting). So it’s a whirlwind. You’re kind of doing all of the above. I’ll tell you what, five months has gone by a lot faster than you think when you’re going to a brand new place.
BI: What are you hoping to take away from your time at NDSU?
KB: I was told a long time ago, the job of the assistant coach is to come in and the first part is to assist. My job is to make his (Richman’s) job easier. I’ve been so happy with him and the way the community has taken me and my family in that I just have a smile on my face 24 hours a day. Even when I sleep I’ve got a smile on my face. I just love where I’m at right now. I want to come in, I want to do my job, I want to make his life easier and I just want to win a bunch of basketball games in green and gold. The rest will take care of itself. Just gotta focus on that, focus on what’s ahead of us, throw on our gloves and go out and win some games.