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Georgetown College Director of Athletics Brian Evans announced the new head men's basketball coach Thursday afternoon. Four-year Tiger assistant to Happy Osborne, Chris Briggs, will immediately assume the leadership position, knowing and understanding he is taking over a tradition rich program. Not only has he been a part of that success here at Georgetown, but he was graduate assistant and student manager for legendary coach Tubby Smith.
"Some might think we hired him because he was the next in line," Evans said. "I don't work that way. We have standards and traditions to uphold and just because one coach is gone doesn't mean my expectations change. Briggs understands all of that and illustrated his clear vision for moving this team forward after Happy Osborne's departure."
Briggs has been instrumental to Georgetown's basketball program in the past four years, working with players individually, breaking down film and traveling the country to find new Tiger prospects. In that time, GC is 120-17 and 46-8 in the Mid-South Conference. The Tigers have won three MSC regular season and tournament titles. He has worked with eight NAIA All-Americans and 11 all-conference selections.
"I have been fortunate to learn from two of the best coaches in the game. I am so appreciative to Happy, what he has taught me and who he is as a person. I love him. He has prepared me for this opportunity and it is because of him that I have the confidence to take the next step in my career," Briggs said.
His experience and success is not limited to Georgetown. He developed amateur and professional players from the United States, China, Japan and Korea. He was a graduate assistant for two seasons at University of Kentucky. The Wildcats went 50-19 overall and 23-9 in the SEC over that time. Before his GA work, he was a student manager for UK for three seasons. He was a member of the Seattle Supersonics training camp staff in 2006, coached at Bob Hill Pro Advantage Big Man/Guard Camp and Five Star Basketball Camps and coordinated workouts for professional athletes such as Erik Daniels, Chuck Hayes, Tayshaun Prince, Keith Bogans, Nazr Mohammed and Rajon Rondo.
"We are excited about the future of our basketball program under the direction of Chris Briggs," said GC president William H. Crouch, Jr. "Our vision as an institution is to combine three powerful pillars: academic excellence, Christian identity and strong character building athletics. We knew any new coach of our highly visible basketball program had to incorporate all three pillars. I'm confident our new coach will do just that, thereby further contributing positively to our ever-growing reputation as a top national liberal arts college."
Remaining on the sidelines is second-year assistant and former Tiger great, Andre Mahorn.
"It's important to me that Coach Mahorn is on my staff," Briggs said. "He and I know what it takes to be successful on- and off-the-court. We will continue to instill these lessons to our players - the value of hard work and the importance of an education for long-term success throughout life."
Legacy and tradition are two words that have been synonymous with GC men's basketball for nearly 60 years. Three legendary coaches, two of which are already Hall of Famers, have built the Tigers into a national powerhouse. In the 58 years Robert Davis, the late Jim Reid and Osborne coached, GC went to the NAIA tournament 30 times. The Tigers hold a national record with 20 straight appearances in Kansas City, dating back to 1992.
With the departure of Osborne, Evans knew it was a serious task at hand to find the right candidate to take over the reins.
"We had a lot of applicants," Evans said. "It is a testament to what we have done in our past and to Georgetown College overall. But, I didn't need to look far for our next coach."
He actually just had to look across the hall. Briggs wasted no time in demonstrating his passion for Georgetown basketball and his vision for the coming years. He dusted off his resume and showed his commitment to the Tigers, impressing Evans from the start.
"It wasn't about me at any point," Briggs said. "We want what is best for these players we have coming in and our tradition of excellence to continue. It has always been my goal and dream to be a head coach, but I wanted it to be the right situation, the right place. There is no better place to begin a coaching career than Georgetown."
"I've always believed in Chris," Osborne said upon learning of Briggs' appointment. "He understands that Georgetown basketball is about relationships and family. The most important thing is he and Andre will be the kind of coaches that will be great role models for our young men. I know how much they care about them and what people need to understand is they were the guys that recruited our players. They were heavily involved in getting our athletes to Georgetown. I am so pleased with our administration in keeping this job in our basketball family."
Osborne is not the only one singing Briggs' praises. Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith has also been a proponent of his former GA and student manager being the Tiger head coach.
"Chris Briggs has a high basketball IQ, and I am positive that he will continue to carry on the winning tradition at Georgetown College," Smith said. "Chris has been working towards this goal for many years and will work hard and do what it takes to be successful the right way. We at Minnesota are behind him and will always be there for the Georgetown program and Chris Briggs."
Briggs knows the shoes he steps into are large, but he feels ready for the task at hand and is committed to keeping the GC traditions going."Following three Hall of Fame coaches is an honor. That may be a lot of pressure to some, but I know the program and our athletes are the foundation for success at Georgetown," Briggs said. "Our players and staff will be fully committed to winning in everything we do, each and every day."