Wichita State kissed the interim tag goodbye for head coach Isaac Brown on Friday. The program announced it has agreed to drop the label and sign the 51-year-old to a five-year deal to become the program's new head coach, with a formal introduction coming on Monday.
Brown will become the first Black men's basketball coach ever to lead a Division I program in the state of Kansas.
The Shockers program endured turbulent times last year under then-head coach Gregg Marshall, who resigned last November amid allegations of verbal and physical abuse against players at Wichita State. Brown, already on the staff as an assistant, was pegged as the interim to guide the program through it all only eight days before the start of the season.
And indeed, he's done exactly that. Under trying circumstances that included Marshall's resignation and the loss of several key players from last year, Brown, whose team he inherited was picked to finish seventh in the American Athletic Conference, currently sits in first place in the league's regular-season standings with two games remaining. Wichita State defeated Houston last week 68-63 to capture Brown's first signature win over a top-10 team.
Familiarity within the program made Brown a logical choice to take over Wichita State on an interim basis since he joined Marshall's staff via Louisiana Tech in 2014 as an assistant. That same familiarity with the program, the players, the region and the conference all helped in his rapid rise from little-known interim to full-time head coach all within a span of four months.
Sitting at 13-4 overall and 9-2 in conference play, the Shockers are a No. 11 seed in Jerry Palm's latest bracket and are on track to earn an at-large selection to the tournament in a league shaping up to send just two teams to the Big Dance.