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Hired on his 30th birthday, Chris Briggs had big dreams and plans for the Georgetown College men's basketball program he had come to love through his four years as an assistant. The Tigers have an expectation of success and a leadership of legendary coaches. The youthful coach has definitely kept both of those traditions going.
In just two seasons, and only 31 years of age, Briggs' is 54-17 (76.1 winning percentage) with a national title and NAIA Coach of the Year to his credit.
"Winning the national title, with this team, is such an amazing feeling," Briggs said. "These guys worked so hard and you could see the change in demeanor and focus when we were in Kansas City. That is one of the toughest tournaments out there. You are playing five games in six days, it can wear on anyone.
"But we wanted it and went and got it."
Briggs had twice been to the Fab Four as an assistant and guided his first team to the quarterfinals, but bringing home Georgetown's second men's basketball national crown is still surreal.
Topping all of that off, Briggs appears to be the youngest coach to ever lead a men's basketball team to a national crown.
The NAIA does not keep records and through GC's own research nothing has turned up to refute the theory. He is also the youngest to be named Coach of the Year.
"I keep pinching myself," Briggs joked in a meeting recently. "It's unbelievable and unreal, but at the same time I could just feel it happening out there. All the hours we woke up for 6 am practices. All the extra shooting, running and game tape breakdown that we did, was paying off."
Ironically, Georgetown was sitting on a 26-8 record heading into the Fab Four game. In 2011-12, the Tigers finished 26-9 with a loss in the quarterfinals. However, Briggs' team was not about to let the dream run come to an end.
Instead, GC erased a double-digit lead in the second half, grabbed the team's first lead with just more than a minute remaining and hit the game-winning shot with less than a second remaining in the semifinals to be in the school's fifth all-time finals.
The Tigers trailed early in the championship, but once they got going never looked back for the largest margin of victory in the finals since 1997.
"It is an honor to coach at Georgetown and an honor to be the head coach for these guys," Briggs said. "It's always nice to be the team that ends the season on a win. To have some of my dreams and hopes for these young men and this program realized that night will forever be special to me."