NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Brad Underwood was named the 11th head coach of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack basketball program, SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill announced at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Underwood comes to SFA after an extensive coaching career that includes 27 years in the coaching profession, including the last two seasons as an associate head coach at both South Carolina and Kansas State with current Gamecock head coach Frank Martin. This year he helped reel in an incoming recruiting class ranked in the national top 40 by ESPN.com. He is credited with playing a major role in helping to revitalize the Kansas State program, which posted 20-win campaigns and advanced to the postseason - including four trips to the NCAA Tournament - during all six of his seasons at KSU.
"Brad Underwood brings years of experience to SFA and has coached at the highest levels of Division I basketball," SFA Director of Athletics Robert Hill said. "All of this plus his knowledge of the game and ability to recruit makes him the perfect hire for our men's basketball program. He has great plans on how we can make this program even better."
Underwood spent last season as Martin's top assistant in the staff's first year in Columbia, helping the Gamecocks to four more wins than the previous season. Prior to USC, Underwood served on the Kansas State staff for six years, beginning in May 2006 as the director of operations for then-head coach Bob Huggins. After serving in that capacity for the 2006-07 campaign, Underwood was promoted to assistant coach prior to the 2007-08 season, Martin's first as the head coach at KSU.
A Kansas State graduate, Underwood helped coach several all-conference players and two All-Americans at his alma mater, while helping the Wildcats win at least 21 games each season and finishing fifth or higher in the Big 12 each year.
"I am very excited about this opportunity to take over a wonderful program in a beautiful town," Underwood said. "I look forward to a long and very successful time in Nacogdoches. This is a program that has been regarded as one of the top program's in the Southland for a number of years, and I feel very priviledged to take over a program where the culture of wining is already in place. I look forward to winning, and leading this program to future championships."
During his first season as an assistant (2007-08), Underwood helped guide the Wildcats to a 21-12 record and third-place finish in the Big 12 with a mark of 10-6 in league contests, marking the program's best finish since the inception of the league. The squad advanced to the NCAA Tournament, earning its first NCAA Tournament victory since the 1988 campaign.
Kansas State earned an at-large bid to the NIT during the 2008-09 campaign, and the 2009-10 team followed with one of the best seasons in program history, compiling a school-record 29 wins, en route to an Elite Eight appearance. The Wildcats defeated six ranked opponents that season, and concluded the year ranked in the Top 10 in both the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll (No. 7) and the Associated Press Top 25 Poll (No. 7).
Kansas State advanced to the third round in the NCAA Tournament during the 2010-11 season, putting up a 23-11 record, including a 10-6 mark in league play to finish third in the Big 12. Underwood received much acclaim during the 2010-11 season, as Martin took his suggestion of adjusting the offensive scheme in early January. The result saw KSU rally, posting nine wins in its last 11 regular-season games to earn the school's fifth-consecutive 20-win season.
The 2011-12 campaign saw Kansas State once again advance to the NCAA Tournament third round, concluding the season with a 22-11 overall record. The Wildcats posted a 10-8 mark in Big 12 play to finish fifth, which made Kansas State and cross-state rival Kansas as the only Big 12 schools to receive a bye into the quarterfinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in each of the last six seasons, with Underwood part of the KSU staff each time.
Underwood joined the Wildcat staff in 2006, after spending three seasons as the head coach at Daytona Beach Community College in Daytona Beach, Fla. He helped guide the Falcons to a 70-24 (.745) overall record, including three consecutive 20-win seasons and two Mid-Florida Conference Championships from 2003-06. He was twice selected as the Mid-Florida Conference Coach of the Year following the 2003-04 and 2004-05 seasons. He saw 14 players go on to receive scholarships at four-year programs, including Travis Aikens (Marshall), Demetrius Green (Middle Tennessee State), David Lawrence (College of Charleston), Solomon Jones (South Florida) and Blake Young (K-State). An honorable mention All-Big East selection at USF in 2006, Jones was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft by Atlanta Hawks.
In 2005-06, Underwood guided Daytona Beach to a 25-5 overall record and a runner-up finish in Mid-Florida Conference play with a 12-3 mark. He helped six players earn Mid-Florida Conference honors, including two first-team all-league selections, as well as conference player of the year Blake Young. Young went on to earn honorable mention All-America accolades from the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and first-team Region VIII accolades. Young and Demetrius Green were both rated among the top 25 players in the country by JucoJunction.com.
He guided the Falcons to back-to-back Mid-Florida Conference Championships in 2003-04 and 2004-05. His 2004-05 squad produced a 24-10 overall record and runner-up finish in Region VIII. Six players earned all-conference accolades, including four first team selections. David Lawrence was also selected to the NJCAA All-Region VIII first team as well as the Florida Community College Athletic Association (FCCAA) All-State team. Underwood's first team collected a 21-9 overall mark and produced one NJCAA All-Region VIII first-team selection.
Prior to his time at Daytona Beach, Underwood spent 10 years as an assistant coach at Western Illinois under Jim Kerwin. The Leathernecks produced a 135-174 record from 1992-2003, including a 79-97 mark in Mid-Continent Conference play. The team advanced to the finals of the Mid-Continent Conference Tournament three straight seasons (1995, 1996, 1997) and achieved five consecutive seasons of winning at least 16 games. He helped coach 12 all-conference players, including four first-team selections, and four named to the all-newcomer team.
Underwood earned his first head coaching position in 1988 at Dodge City Community College in Dodge City, Kan., where he spent four seasons as the program's head coach, guiding the Conquistadors to a 62-60 record from 1988-93. His 1990-91 squad compiled a 23-9 record and was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation.
Underwood earned his bachelor's degree in radio and television communications from Kansas State in 1986, where he was a two-year letterman for the Wildcats (1984-86). A native of McPherson, Kan., he and his wife, Susan, have one son, Tyler, and two daughters, Katie and Ashley.
He replaces Danny Kaspar as head coach after Kaspar recently left to take the head coaching position at Texas State. He finished his 13-year career ranked second all-time at SFA in wins with 246.