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UMKC fires basketball coach Matt Brown

Updated: 2013-03-12T20:49:23Z

By BLAIR KERKHOFF

The Kansas City Star

Matt Brown didn’t sound like a coach who lost his job on Tuesday.

“I’m reenergized, revitalized, and excited to see what the next challenge will be,” Brown said.

Brown was fired as UMKC’s men’s basketball coach after six seasons. He finished with a record of 64-122 in his first head coaching job.

The Kangaroos went 8-24 this season, which ended Sunday with a loss to North Dakota State in the quarterfinals of the Summit League Tournament.

“I have six years of head coaching experience,” Brown said. “What more can I ask for?”

Brown, who succeeded Rich Zvosec, has previously served as an assistant at West Virginia and Richmond under current Michigan coach John Beilein. Brown also worked in the Florida program for Billy Donovan, and both coaches recommended Brown for the job. Now, he’ll pull for both to reach the Final Four.

“If they make it, I’ll wear blue,” Brown said. “That will work for both teams.”

Brown’s best season was 2010-11, when the Kangaroos went 16-14.

The new coach will enter a new conference. UMKC is heading into the Western Athletic Conference and joining seven others, including Chicago State, Texas Pan-American and Seattle.

Also, the school is working with the city to return home games to Municipal Auditorium. The school has played most of its home games in tiny Swinney Recreation Center for the past two seasons.

“Matt ran our men’s basketball program with dignity,” UMKC athletic director Tim Hall said in a statement. “He put student-athlete welfare and academics in the forefront. The coaches and student-athletes have represented UMKC and Kansas City in a first class manner under his watch, and I personally wish him nothing but the best.”

Plenty of names have surfaced as possible candidates: Louisville assistant Kareem Richardson, a UMKC assistant in 2007-08; South Carolina associate head coach Brad Underwood, who played and coached at Kansas State and has been a junior college head coach; and Southern Illinois associate coach Tom Hankins, a former longtime Oral Roberts assistant.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/BlairKerkhoff.

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