There’s a new men’s basketball coach at Oklahoma State, after the school parted ways on Friday with Travis Ford, who left the program after eight years at the helm.
The new man is Brad Underwood, the head coach at Stephen F. Austin, where he led the Lumberjacks to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances and won three straight Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors, and also won the Joe B. Hall award in 2014 as the nation’s top first-year head coach.
SFA lost on a last-second tip in by Notre Dame on Sunday.
Underwood is a Kansas State graduate who played under the late Jack Hartman, who played for legendary coach Henry Iba at OSU.
“I visited there, almost went there,” Underwood said at a news conference. “And Eddie Sutton’s a hall of fame coach, with 800-plus coach, and a hall of fame guy. And to be afforded that opportunity to be the coach on that floor, in that conference where the greats have been, I’m a dream big guy, and that’s been a lifetime dream.”
Lately, Underwood’s teams have been pretty good, playing a style similar to Iba and Eddie Sutton’s OSU teams.
In the last three seasons, Stephen F. Austin is 89-14. This year, the Lumberjacks led the nation in scoring margin, turnover margin and turnovers forced. They also ranked second in assists per game.
Underwood appears to fit the criteria laid out by OSU Athletics Director Mike Holder during a Saturday session with reporters. Holder said character, coaching style and the right “fit” for OSU and the Stillwater community is important.
At a news conference in Nacogdoches, Texas, Underwood got emotional when talking about the whirlwind of the last 24 to 36 hours.
"I dreaded yesterday, like no other. And that wasn't any easier. And I'm afforded this opportunity because of them," he said.
Underwood’s spent 27 years in coaching, and he'll be formally introduced at a news conference inside Gallagher-Iba Arena Wednesday afternoon at 1:30.