Former South Carolina St. star Brown to coach team

Updated: June 21, 2006, 4:46 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina State reached into its successful past, choosing former star center Jamal Brown as its men's basketball coach Wednesday.

Brown, who played on the 1996 team that won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament and made the NCAAs, takes over for Ben Betts Jr., who left after three seasons to become an assistant for new Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel.

Brown played and coached for ex-Bulldogs coach Cy Alexander. Then Brown followed Alexander to Tennessee State as an assistant during the last three seasons before returning to South Carolina State and his first heading coach job.

Brown was introduced Wednesday and promised to do what it took to get his team back to competing for MEAC championships and NCAA Tournament berths.

"I don't know if it's ever going to be easy," Brown said by telephone. "But I've been preparing for this for a long time and think I'm ready to do it."

Brown's college team finished 22-8 and earned South Carolina State's second NCAA Tournament appearance. Soon after Brown got his degree, he was hired by Alexander and helped the Bulldogs make three more NCAA trips over the next six seasons.

South Carolina State hasn't been to the NCAA Tournament since 2003, the last year Alexander and Brown were there.

Betts, also a former South Carolina State assistant under Alexander, went 18-11 and 19-11 his first two seasons. However, the team stumbled to 14-16 this past year, the school's first losing season in five years.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press