Meet the Baylor and Gonzaga coaching staffs ahead of Monday’s national championship.
While we prepare for Monday night’s national championship game between Baylor and Gonzaga, let’s take a look at the respective coaching staffs who have engineered the Final Four runs.
Gonzaga’s Mark Few and Baylor’s Scott Drew have helped turn around programs over the past two decades with plenty of help along the way. Below we identify the head coaches and assistant coaches that made these special seasons possible.
Mark Few, head coach: A native of Creswell, Oregon, Few joined Dan Fitzgerald’s Gonzaga staff in 1989 as a grad assistant. Few had coaching experience even before earning his degree, serving as an unpaid assistant at Creswell High School. Following his grad assistant year, Few was promoted to full-time assistant under Dan Monson for seven years. When Monson left for Minnesota in the middle of the 1999 offseason, Few was promoted to head coach. Gonzaga hasn’t missed the NCAA Tournament since and Few owns the highest career winning percentage in college basketball history.
Tommy Lloyd, assistant coach: Lloyd was born in Kelso, Wash., and began his playing career at Walla Walla Community College in Walla Walla, Wash. He graduated from Walla Walla and then transferred to Colorado State University-Pueblo where he played for a year before returning to Walla Walla for his senior year at Whitman College. Monson and Lloyd had already connected about the possibility of Lloyd joining the Gonzaga coaching staff while Lloyd was in junior college. Few honored Monson’s word in 2000 by adding him to the staff and promoting him to full-time assistant the following year. Lloyd is expected to succeed Few as Gonzaga’s next head coach whenever Few chooses to depart.
Roger Powell Jr., assistant coach: A former Illinois star forward and native of Juliet, Ill., Powell played seven years professionally before joining the coaching ranks. Powell started each of Illinois’ 39 games during its 2005 Final Four season, averaging 12 points and 5.7 rebounds per game alongside Luther Head, Dee Brown and Deron Williams. Powell accepted an assistant position on Bryce Drew’s staff at Valparaiso before following Drew to Vanderbilt in 2016 as an associate head coach. He joined the Gonzaga staff in 2019 after Drew was let go from his position with the Commodores.
Brian Michaelson, assistant coach: Michaelson, like Powell, is also in his 30s making a significant impact during Gonzaga’s title run. A 2005 Gonzaga alum by the way of Portland, Oregon, Michaelson accepted an administrative role with the Bulldogs in 2008. He was promoted to assistant director of basketball operations in 2011 and then again to assistant coach in 2013.
Scott Drew, head coach: Son of former Valparaiso head coach Homer Drew, Scott started his coaching career in 1991 when he accepted a student manager position while finishing his degree at Butler. After graduating, Drew went to Valparaiso to coach under his father for nine years. He became head coach when the elder Drew retired and led Valparaiso to a 20-win season and regular-season title. When Dave Bliss resigned from Baylor in 2003, Drew took over the scandal-riddled Bears and immediately worked on turning the program around. He secured his first NCAA Tournament berth in 2008 and has reached the AP Top 10 in six of the last 11 years.
Jerome Tang, associate head coach: Born in West Indies of Trinidad, Tang’s family moved to the Houston area when he was nine years old. Tang accepted the head-coaching position at Heritage Christian Academy in Cleveland, Texas, turning the program into a national powerhouse during his 10 seasons. Drew welcomed Tang to the Baylor staff in 2003 and the two have seamlessly worked together ever since. His efforts in recruiting elite talent and developing players earned Tang a promotion in 2017 to associate head coach.
Alvin Brooks III, assistant coach: Son of new Lamar head coach Alvin Brooks Jr., Brooks III is in his fifth year as a Baylor assistant. The Houston native played at Midland College in Midland, Texas, before transferring to Idaho State from 2000 to 2003. After graduating, Brooks served as an assistant at D-II Arkansas-Fort Smith before returning to Midland College as an assistant in 2006. Brooks accepted his first D-I job as a Bradley assistant in 2007 and also spent three years at Sam Houston State and four years under Bruce Weber at Kansas State before heading to Baylor.
John Jakus, assistant coach: A Chicago native, Jakus is plenty familiar with both teams playing Monday night. Jakus spent three years as Gonzaga’s director of basketball operations before taking the Baylor assistant job in 2017. He graduated from Trinity International in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1999. Jakus also served as head coach of Athletes In Action and at the high-school level at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in addition to coaching professionally in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Spain and New Zealand.
Header image courtesy of Trevor Brown/NCAA Photos via Getty Images.