Brand new mindset

SHS boys basketball team gains intense and experienced head coach


Noah Thomas

New boys basketball Eric Brand helps run a drill at practice on Nov. 8.

During his W1B2 period, new head basketball coach Eric Brand prefers to spend his morning stretching, sweating and strengthening while he pumps iron with his players as opposed to taking the morning off.

Brand doesn’t lift just to stay in shape. He lifts with his players to show his team he’s willing to work hard, and so he can feel the same as his players do.

Brand coaches with an intensity and mindset that the SHS coaching staff hasn’t possessed in recent years, says junior point guard Brevin Jefferson. Brand plans to translate the knowledge he’s obtained from playing basketball in high school, college and the professional level to make the Cards the best they’ve been in years.

“(Brand is) putting (SHS) back on top,” Jefferson said.

According to Brand, basketball has been a part of his life as long as he can remember, and he has collected a number of accolades and records throughout his career to show for it.

After graduating from Bloomington South, Brand went on to play basketball for Bethel College from 1996 to 2000. According to, during his time at Bethel, the Pilots had a record of 135-22, won three national titles and one runner-up title for Division II basketball. While at Bethel, Brand broke the record for points scored (2,696), field-goals made (1,018), free throws made (659) and games played (157). On Sept. 15, 2017 Eric Brand was inducted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame. Bethel College inducted Brand into their Hall of Fame in 2003 and retired his jersey number. Brand later went on to play professional basketball in Austria for four years and then in Australia for one.

“I’ve had quite a few (coaches) in my day so I can hopefully take a little bit from each one and transfer it to help these young men be successful,” Brand said.

Brand has also had his fair share of experience in coaching. He began his coaching career at Baylor University. He went on to coach at Tyler Junior College, Texas State University and New Mexico State University. More recently, he coached for two years at Warren Central and one year at South Bend Riley before moving to SHS. With Brand as their head coach, the South Bend Wildcats went undefeated through the regular season before losing to Carmel in the semi-state game on March 17.

Brand believes that his level of experience helps to make him more reliable as a coach to his players. Senior Chaz Hinds agrees, and states that since Brand has already played at high levels, his words have more value than a typical coach’s would.

“He’s been everywhere a lot of us want to be,” Hinds said.

Brand stated that his philosophy on coaching is that the Cards simply need to play harder, smarter and faster than the other team. To Jefferson, Brand is the type of coach that just wants to get to work, get serious and get the job done. Jefferson believes that the Cards have been working harder this offseason than last year’s. He also believes that the Cards will win more games this year because they are coming in with a different mindset: play hard and work hard. Every day at practice is hard and the intensity is always top-notch, according to Jefferson.

“I love being able to take the challenge of out-toughing and out-working people,” Brand said.

Brand faces a new challenge with the loss of two starters from last season. Adding on to that, the Cards are coming off two rough seasons, finishing with records of 6-16 for the 2016-2017 season and 7-15 for last year’s season. The Cards will fly alongside Brand in their season opener on Nov. 20 against Perry Meridian at 7:30 p.m.