Men’s basketball adds coaching staff
Former Illini basketball great Dee Brown and former Texas Southern coach Tony Harvey will join head coach Steve McClain as assistant coaches for the men’s basketball team. Phil Gaul returns to his alma mater to serve as the director of basketball operations.
“Our UIC basketball family is incredibly excited to add two coaches as talented and dynamic as Dee Brown and Tony Harvey,” said McClain. “Both bring an extensive knowledge of the game and an enthusiasm to both seek out and develop the highest quality student-athletes to our program.”
Brown, the 2005 Sporting News National Player of the Year, played at the University of Illinois from 2002–06. He helped the Fighting Illini capture Big Ten championships in 2004 and 2005 and reach the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament in 2005. A consensus First Team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2005, Brown graduated as the winningest player in program history with 114 wins, and as the school’s all-time leader in minutes (4,698) and starts (136).
Following his successful stint in Champaign, Brown was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 2006 NBA Draft. In addition to stops in Washington, Phoenix and Dallas on the NBA circuit, the Maywood native spent nine seasons as a professional basketball player, mainly overseas. He was a two-time champion in Europe and named Player of the Year with PBC Lukoil Academic in Bulgaria in 2015.
Upon announcing his retirement as a player in 2015, Brown returned to his alma mater as a special assistant to the athletic director. He also was the director of player development and alumni relations for the men’s basketball program under then-head coach John Groce.
Brown’s first foray into coaching came in the AAU circuit with Chicago Meanstreets. He also led Bloomington Flex, a USA select team, on a tour through China this summer.
Brown, whose hire is pending Board of Trustees approval, graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation, sports & tourism.
“Coach Brown knows the city of Chicago extremely well and the city knows him,” McClain said. “It’s a great fit and I know he’s going to fully dedicate himself to making everyone around him better all the time.”
Harvey possesses more than 16 years of coaching experience, including four seasons as the head coach at Texas Southern University. He led the Tigers to their first 20-win season in 15 years during the 2010–11 campaign. That year, Harvey was named the SWAC Coach of the Year while the team earned an NIT bid.
Prior to arriving in Houston, Harvey spent time as the associate head coach at Missouri. He helped bring in six recruiting classes that were each ranked in the top 10 nationally, while helping the Tigers to reach the NCAA Tournament four consecutive times between 2000–03. Twice those MU teams advanced to the Sweet 16, and in 2002 the team played in the Elite 8.
Harvey was named one of the top five recruiting assistants in the country and one of the hardest working assistants three times by insiderhoops.com. In both 2001–02 and 2002–03.
In addition to his tenures at Texas Southern and Missouri, Harvey spent time on collegiate staffs at Eastern Michigan (1996–99), McNeese State (1994–96) and Southern University (1993–94). He began his coaching career in the high school ranks at Benton Harbor High School and Martin Luther King High School.
Harvey received a bachelor’s degree in health/physical education with a minor in biology from Cameron University in Oklahoma.
“Coach Harvey has been an integral part of successful programs for nearly two decades,” McClain said. “He is a relentless recruiter with a strong work ethic that can benefit all of us as players and coaches.”
Gaul returns to UIC as director of operations. The UIC alum was on McClain’s first staff at UIC as a graduate assistant during the 2015–16 season. His duties include the coordination of team travel, video operations, budgetary responsibilities and practice schedules. He also oversees the student manager program and aids the squad in several logistical areas.
Gaul graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 2012. He received a master’s in instructional leadership in 2013.
“Phil is no stranger to UIC and we are fortunate that he has rejoined us at his alma mater,” McClain added. “He is an alum who is passionate about this program and I believe that his eagerness to succeed will carry over to everyone on the team.”