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The hope to a be a head coach big reason former Bison assistant coach Kyan Brown took Omaha job

Former North Dakota State assistant will work under longtime friend Chris Crutchfield.

Former North Dakota State assistant men's basketball coach Kyan Brown, right, shown conferring with Bison head coach Dave Richman, is headed to Nebraska-Omaha after six seasons with the Bison.
Bison Athletics photo

FARGO — The desire to someday be a Division I head men’s basketball coach has Kyan Brown in Omaha, Neb., today working the trails of recruiting. The Bison assistant for six years took a similar associate head coaching position with the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Plus, he’s reacquainting with a longtime friend when Chris Crutchfield was named the head coach of the Mavericks.

“When he came a-calling, he seemed to make me an offer that was tough to refuse,” Brown said. “I love being an assistant but I have goals one day of being a Division I head coach. There is no set way to get there. In sales you know you have to hit this number or sell that many to get jumped up. Dave (Richman) was awesome for me and he helped me in a lot of ways. Coach Crutch down here has dreams of being a high major head coach and maybe that will open a door for me at Omaha or someplace else.”

It marks yet another move in an offseason of change for the Bison. Four seniors played their last game in the championship game of the Summit League tournament, although guard Sam Griesel is using his extra year of COVID-19 eligibility at the University of Nebraska.

Starting guard Jarius Cook and key backup Maleeck Harden-Hayes entered the transfer portal, with their destinations yet known, at least publicly.


Sophomore forward Grant Nelson and sophomore guard Boden Skunberg will be the only regulars returning. Backup center Andrew Morgan played some key minutes after coming back from an extended injury.

Brown came to NDSU after spending eight seasons at Oral Roberts. Before that he was at Missouri State for four seasons. He played three seasons at Oral Roberts, meaning the Summit League will remain a home.

Speaking of, he’s leaving a metro area that helped his family rebuild after a fire caused heavy damage to their home.

“I can’t say enough for the community,” Brown said. “We went through that travesty with the fire and I can’t begin to express the love that was poured into our family. My family and I have talked about that. We’ll always be going back visiting friends and people.”

The Mavericks are in a rebuilding mode. Longtime head coach Derrin Hansen was fired after a second straight season of just five victories. Crutchfield is a former Omaha player who spent last season as an assistant at Oregon.

Before that, he was the head coach at Division II East Central Oklahoma. But it was at Omaha where he and Brown made a connection.

“It was nothing negative against NDSU, it was an unbelievable experience,” Brown said. “But to advance one day to be a head coach like I want to be, I thought this was a better move and a better way to get there.”

The Mavericks have fallen on hard times. But Brown said a new athletic director is taking another direction.


“We’re funding this differently,” Brown said. “We’re putting more money into basketball and it’s a new challenge we’re looking forward to. Yes, we have a little rebuilding project.”

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Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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