What new USC assistant coach adds to Frank Martin’s staff

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Three weeks after starting his new job, South Carolina men’s basketball assistant Brian Steele still finds himself excited about the little things – like having his own office.

“It’s cloud nine every day for me,” Steele said Wednesday on Zoom, bursting with energy. “… I walk in everyday, put a key in an office, and it’s so special. And for it to be South Carolina, this place means the world to me. “

Since arriving on campus as a USC player in 2012, Steele has diligently worked his way into Frank Martin’s circle of trust. He played 50 career games under Martin in 2012-15 before recurring knee injuries pushed him into early retirement and steered him into a role as student assistant coach and then graduate assistant.

After a two-year stint as an assistant coach at the Queens University Division II School, Steele joined Martin’s staff as a video coordinator last season, and on June 16, the team announced the promotion. de Steele as assistant coach. He occupies the post left vacant by five-year-old assistant Bruce Shingler, who left to coach under Mark Turgeon in Maryland.

Steele said it was surreal “to be rewarded so quickly” for his efforts as a student assistant and video coordinator with the Gamecocks.

Steele’s promotion is another example of Martin’s family approach to building a coaching team. Martin also remained in the Gamecocks family to replace Steele as video coordinator, announcing the hiring of former Gamecock John Ragin for the role on Wednesday. Along with these moves, Martin promoted top assistant Chuck Martin to associate head coach.

“As a youngster, when you have someone like Frank who you know has status and respect, has won a lot of games and really knows what he’s doing… his belief has always meant a lot to me.” , Steele said. “And just spending so much time with him, he always preached loyalty to us, and he lives on it.” He was incredibly loyal and always supported me.

Steele said he takes a similar approach as an assistant, seeing Gamecock players almost like little brothers and trying to bring them up. A self-proclaimed high-energy coach Steele has said he tries to be in the middle of the action as much as he can, even going so far as to face towering men like Wildens Leveque and Tre-Vaughn Minott on the pitch. .

“I always try to be like the young coach and I’m doing it. Sometimes I really regret it, ”Steele said with a laugh. “Like I’m going out and dealing with guys like Wildens and the TV who are just huge and struggle with them. Dude, they just beat me up.

As a native of Greenville and former Gamecock himself, Steele’s youthful energy and familiarity with the program could serve USC well on the recruiting trail, especially in the state of South Carolina. Barely a week after starting his job, Steele helped secure a commitment from 2022 state keeper Zachary Davis, who said “me and coach Steele just made that bond.”

Former state title winner at Wade Hampton High, Steele said he was able to build on his connections with local coaches – whom he had crossed paths with as a player before.

“The response on the road is awesome,” Steele said. “I played high school basketball in the state so a lot of my friends are now high school coaches and AAU coaches. And it’s crazy to see them because we’re still young, we’ve just finished playing and we’re all trying to figure out coaching. It’s just special to see everyone growing up and having them in my journey. … It’s great and it brings me a lot of joy.

“I love recruiting in the state. And now that’s going to be one of my priorities, taking care of the kids in South Carolina.

Michael Lananna specializes in Gamecocks athletics and storytelling projects for The State. Featured in Best American Sports Writing 2018, Lananna covered college baseball nationwide before moving to Columbia in 2020. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2014 with a journalism degree.
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