In the weeks after losing to Grinnell College in the 2014 Midwest Conference Tournament, Brad Brooks knew something was missing. It was the first time in 17 years that he was not a member of a basketball team and it seemed like part of his identity was gone. Since playing his last college basketball game, Brooks has won the Appleton Alliance Basketball League Championship; however, nothing compares to the emotions and intensity felt during a Saturday afternoon college basketball game. This year, Brooks will have another opportunity to feel those same emotions, but this time, they will occur as he is standing on the sideline. Head basketball coach Ryan Kane has hired the former basketball standout to be an assistant coach for the Red Hawks in the upcoming season.
“Biggest thing Brad can bring us this year is perspective,” Kane said. “As a former player at Ripon he can help our players on how to prepare and he can tell us as coaches what our players may be going through in the course of a season.”
In his senior season as a Red Hawk, Brooks led the team in rebounding (7.3 rpg) and blocked shots (15) while ranking fourth on the team in scoring (9.1ppg). Brooks is looking to bring energy and perspective to the team. He is the only member of the coaching staff who is a former player for Ripon which means he can naturally give prospective recruits insight into what life is like at Ripon College academically and on the basketball court.
“Ripon College was vital in helping me prepare for the future,” Brooks said. “Being a student-athlete helped me balance my time to fit in practice, games, classes, and test deadlines. You are challenged to work with others both academically and athletically and taught by excellent professors who care about your well-being and success.”
Brooks was an exercise science major and a business management minor at Ripon. He is working as a project manager at Accurate Controls in Ripon, where they develop security systems for jails, prisons and other correctional facilities throughout the country.
“It was a very easy decision for me to come back and be an assistant under Coach Kane,” Brooks said. “He is someone who I have great respect for and I really enjoyed playing for him for two seasons. He brings a passion and excitement every day that is contagious and I am proud to call him a mentor and a friend.”
Last year, Brooks coached the 7th grade boys traveling team for Oshkosh Lourdes. He has also coached the summer league basketball team for his high school alma mater, Green Lake. Even though Brooks does not have a ton of coaching experience, it is evident that coaching is in his blood. He grew up in a family of seven teachers and coaches, and both his father and uncle were basketball coaches for more than 25 years.
“When I was a freshman, Brad was the senior captain of the team,” senior basketball player Ty Sabin said. “He was like a coach on the floor and even when he was a player you could tell that he looked at the game of basketball a little differently. I am excited to be able to work with him and learn from him this season.”
One of the main goals that Brooks has for the team is he wants to see them get better everyday. In addition, he knows that if the team is playing their best basketball by the end of the season, they will give themselves an opportunity to be playing for a conference championship and representing the Midwest Conference in the NCAA tournament.
“I love Ripon College,” Brooks said. “I grew up in the area and watched my cousins’ teams and others before them at Ripon cut nets and play in the NCAA tournament. I want to be a part of that.”