LEVELLAND — Following a year in which he helped guide the South Plains College men's basketball program to its third national title in program history, assistant coach Justin Brown will be moving on to the Div. I ranks as he has accepted the assistant men's basketball coach position at Eastern Illinois University.
"I met my fiance in Lubbock, and both of my kids were born there as well, and having them grow up in a town like Levelland was very special," Brown said. "One of the reasons the program is so successful is because of the support from the community and the school, and everyone understands what's needed in the classroom and on the court to be successful. I enjoyed every bit of my time in Levelland, and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of winning two national championships at South Plains."
A former standout playing for head coach Steve Green from 2005-2007, Brown led the Texans to the 2007 Western Junior College Athletic Conference title during his sophomore campaign. After transferring to Southwest Baptist University where he led the Bearcats to consecutive conference championships in 2008 and 2009, Brown returned to South Plains as an assistant coach under coach Green, helping the Texans become only the sixth team in NJCAA history to go unbeaten en route to a 36-0 season and the 2012 NJCAA Men's Basketball National Championship.
"Justin's contributions to our success are just incredible," Green said. "Justin has been here twice with me through two national championships, and he was instrumental in both, and his role increased each and every season. He is very deserving of this opportunity, and I am extremely happy for him and his family."
Brown, a Chicago native, would then move on to Utah State University Eastern where he served as the lead assistant under head coach Adjalma Becheli. Following a three-year stint with the Eagles, Brown would once again return to Levelland to serve as the lead assistant for coach Green during the 2016-2017 season.
Brown would make an immediate impact as he helped the Texans set a program record with a No. 1 national ranking for 16 consecutive weeks, as the Texans captured the 2017 WJCAC conference crown with an unblemished 16-0 mark, and went on to earn a berth in the 2017 NJCAA Men's Final Four.
"From a coaching standpoint, I learned a lot under coach Green and was very blessed to have the opportunity to come back and work for a school like South Plains College," Brown said. "Coach Green really allowed me to be a part of every aspect of the program, and it helped me get to the position of where I am now. I definitely learned how a program should be operated day in and day out."
South Plains would continue to make history on the hardwood during the 2017-2018 season, defeating conference foe Odessa College in the 2018 Region V title game, advancing to the 2018 NJCAA Men's Basketball National Tournament. The Texans continued their run in Hutchinson, Kansas, winning five straight against top 25 programs including a 98-95 victory of Southern Idaho in the national championship game.
"I gave Justin whatever responsibility I thought he could handle, and each year it seemed like he grew and gained more confidence in himself," Green said. "He had a hand in everything we did, and he always had great insight with things he thought would motivate our players and make them succeed. I've enjoyed watching him grow and mature since he was a freshman playing for us, and he is a very loyal guy and I couldn't be more proud of what he has done."