Season Preview: CHD sits down with James Madison coach Matt Brady

To prepare for the tip-off of another great year of college basketball, CHD is reaching out to coaches and players around the country to get the inside scoop on what we can expect this time around. Jon Teitel continues our season preview series by chatting with James Madison coach Matt Brady about going through a regular season undefeated.


In the 2013 NCAA tourney you beat LIU-Brooklyn in a play-in game: where does that win rank among the highlights of your career? It is certainly right up there. All assistant coaches want to be a head coach and lead their teams to success in the NCAA tourney, but it is not easy to do in a 1-bid league. We hope it is a springboard for sustained excellence.

What are your expectations for the upcoming season? We are going to be one of if not the youngest teams in the country, and just found out the other day that SG Andre Nation will be suspended for the 1st half of the season. The future is bright, but we only have one upperclassman on the roster so there will be some potholes along the way.

You played PG at Siena: how good a player were you back in the day, and how did you get into coaching? I loved the game and worked hard but was not the fleetest of foot. We had some team success but would have liked to have had more. I knew back in college that I wanted to coach as it was a natural extension of being a PG.

You are known as a “shot doctor”: what is the key to being a good shooter? If you had watched my team practice today you would have not thought that! Fundamentals are important as is hard work, and I have helped some guys have great careers.

In the 1988 NCAA tourney as an assistant under Tom Penders at Rhode Island, Danny Ferry had 17 PTS/12 REB in a 1-PT win by #2-seed Duke: how close did you come to pulling off the upset? It was an awesome game and the whole season was a magic carpet ride. I was young so I thought it would be like that every year! I remain close to Tom to this day and talk to him on the phone all the time.

You were an assistant under Phil Martelli at St. Joe’s: what makes Martelli such a great coach, and what is the most important thing you ever learned from him? He had a great relationship with his players and he helped them reach their potential through hard work and chemistry. It is a great institution and a great program.

In the 2003 NCAA tourney Jameer Nelson scored 32 PTS including a pair of FTs at the end of regulation in a 1-PT OT loss to Auburn: where does that rank among the most devastating losses of your career? Delonte West limped into the tourney at probably less than 50% health, and if he was healthy we might have even been able to advance to beat Syracuse.

You entered the 2004 postseason after going 27-0 during a magical regular season: how was the team able to stay focused for every single game? Phil did a really good job staying on point with the next game on our schedule. You cannot undervalue the leadership we had: Jameer is such a remarkable leader with uncanny skills, and we had some warriors on that team.

John Lucas scored 19 PTS including a 3-PT shot with 6.9 seconds left in a 2-PT win by Oklahoma State: what was the reaction like when you got back to campus? We were a little torn because we led for most of that game. It was a fluke play where someone poked the ball loose to Lucas, and I think if that had not happened then we could have prevented them from getting an open shot

In the 2007 NIT as head coach at Marist you had a 3-PT win over Oklahoma State (the 1st postseason win in school history): what is your philosophy about fouling when your opponent has the ball and trails by 3 in the final seconds? It varies from coach to coach and even from circumstance to circumstance. It certainly worked out to our benefit. The Cowboys had a talented team so I did not want to give them a shot to send it to OT.

In 2008 you left Marist to become head coach at JMU: why did you make the switch? I was ready for a different challenge. I liked parts of the job at Marist and thought we could have become 1 of the premier programs in our league, but there were some philosophical differences.