Tag Archives: Brad Underwood K-State

Promotions from Frank Martin: Now That’s High Praise

10 Jun

K-State’s part of college basketball’s coaching carousel began about a month ago, when then-Wildcat recruiting coordinator Dalonte Hill decided to leave Manhattan for Maryland and join the newly hired Mark Turgeon, former head coach of Texas A&M. Now, K-State has issued a press release that makes it clear that instead of hire someone from outside the program, the men’s basketball team will promote from within.

Lamont Evans, who has spent the last three years as an undergraduate and graduate manager, is being promoted to a full-time assistant coach, with a base salary of $135,000 for 2011-12. Assistant coach Brad Underwood is now the associate head coach with a base salary of $205,000.Underwood had his name in the news last season for promoting the Pinch Post offense to which the team switched mid-season and then won 9 of the next 11 contests. Another assistant coach, Matt Figger, is replacing Hill as the Wildcats’ recruiting coordinator.

“Lamont has really earned this opportunity,” Martin stated in the press release. “After recommending him to other head coaches around the country early in the spring, I knew I had a great candidate in-house when Dalonte left the staff. He has really earned everyone’s trust, including most importantly, the players. He has a great basketball mind and an engaging personality. I think all of these characteristics will make an outstanding assistant coach.”

“I’m also excited to reward Brad and Matt with these new roles. These past five years, Brad has earned the right to assist me with the daily decisions of running our program. Matt has been assisting Dalonte with organizing our recruiting efforts these past few years and he is very prepared to take over this responsibility. Both guys have been an integral part of our success and I’m looking forward to having them by my side as we continue to build this program.”

A former college basketball player, Evans spent seven years playing professionally abroad. He competed in the U.S. Basketball League and also played for teams in Belgium, Finland, Germany, Slovenia,  and Venezuela. According to the K-State press release, Evans’ main responsibilities before this recent promotion included “initial breakdown of game video, scout assistance and film exchange.” In addition to studying basketball and how the K-State guys play it, he is also pursuing a master’s degree in College Student Personnel and Intercollegiate Athletics.

Underwood is also a former college basketball, and a former Wildcat at that. The 47-year-old played for two seasons under Wildcat legend Jack Hartman. This will be his sixth year coaching at his alma mater, but overall it is his 24th season in the profession. The McPherson, Kan., native has been a head coach before – at Dodge City Community College (1988-92) and Daytona Beach Community College – and was one of 55 coaches nationwide to attended the Villa 7 Consortium in Virginia. This event “intends to help assistant coaches by having them interact with athletics directors and conference commissioners to better prepare them to become head coaches,” as the official K-State description goes.

Another former college basketball player, Figger is in his 19th season of coaching and his fifth with the Wildcats. The 41-year-old is originally from Kentucky, and his home before K-State was South Alabama, where the Sun Belt Conference team reached the postseason in back-to-back seasons in the last two years before he came to K-State. Now he’ll be filling Hill’s shoes as recruiting coordinator. (Just a guess: lots of frequent flyer miles.)

“I’m obviously thankful to both Frank and the administration to continue in this expanded role,” Figger stated in the press release. “We have a great staff here at K-State and it obviously starts with Frank’s leadership. It’s a pleasure to work alongside these guys. I’m excited to get back out and keep the momentum going into next season.”


Frank Martin for Big 12 Coach of the Year

1 Mar

One of my favorite moments on the pre-game video in Bramlage Coliseum is when the dramatic music comes to a crescendo as the film shows a furious Frank Martin being restrained on the sideline by his assistant coaches, then freezes the frame and flashes the label “BIG 12 COACH OF THE YEAR.”

The Wildcats accomplished a lot last season, which certainly helped in Martin achieving that distinction. This season, K-State has had quite a few hurdles: seniors being suspended, other players leaving the team entirely, and a 1-4 start in conference play.

Daily improvement, however, is one of the mantras of Martin, and even such roadblocks as the ones encountered in the last several months could not permanently detour the Wildcats.

The head coach made a change to his coaching, paying more attention to his upperclassmen instead of assuming they could improve and lead on their own, and letting those older players mentor the younger ones. Martin also changed the offense, trading in his signature smashmouth philosophy for more open perimeter play.

Now, with one game remaining in the regular season, the Wildcats have won their last five games, including two against top 10 opponents Kansas and Texas.

That’s a pretty amazing turnaround, considering all the circumstances. Is that a credit to the coach or the players? Assistant coach Brad Underwood says both. Martin bought into the new offense that Underwood recommended and convinced his players to believe in it as well; the players followed their coaches’ lead, scrapping the system they’d been practicing for months and learning something different.

At this point, who is a better candidate for Big 12 Coach of the Year than the man who won it last season? Having been around this team since November, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a repeat in this conference honor.