Former South Carolina St. star Brown to coach team

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.