Matt Brady wrapped up his fifth campaign as JMU's men's basketball coach with the 2012-13 season, breaking through with the program's first Colonial Athletic Association championship in 19 years.
During his five years in Harrisonburg, Brady has tabulated a record of 88-82. With a trio of 21-win seasons, he has achieved three of the top seven win totals in program history while guiding the Dukes to three different postseason tournaments. Those postseason appearances included the 2013 NCAA Tournament, where he guided the Dukes to their first NCAA win since 1983 with a First Four win over LIU Brooklyn.
In his inaugural campaign in 2008-09, Brady led the Dukes to a 21-15 ledger and the program's first winning record in nine seasons. He followed that with a 13-20 campaign in 2009-10 with a squad that was decimated by injuries. Brady's Dukes rebounded with another 20-win mark in 2010-11 at 21-12 before again suffering through significant injuries in a 12-20 season in 2011-12. Finally in 2012-13, the pieces fell into place for the program to make a significant step forward with a 21-15 season and the CAA title.
The 2012-13 season began inauspiciously with a 1-5 start, however Brady's squad turned things around quickly by winning six of the next seven games. It marked the first time in the program's Division I history to fall as many as four games below .500 and claw back for a winning record. By late January, the Dukes hit their stride and won eight of their final 12 league games to finish 11-7 in CAA play and claim the league's No. 3 seed. It marked just the second winning league record for the program in 13 years and both the most CAA wins and highest CAA finish since 1999-2000.
Led by four seniors, JMU carried the momentum into the CAA Championship in Richmond. The Dukes defeated William and Mary 72-67 to reach their first semifinals since 2001, topped Delaware 58-57 to achieve their first title game appearance since 1997 and put together their best all-around game of the season with a 70-57 win over CAA Regular Season Champion Northeastern to claim the program's first title since 1994 and second overall. For the NCAA Tournament, the No. 16 seed Dukes were shipped to Dayton, where they defeated LIU Brooklyn 68-55 before then falling to top-seeded Indiana.
Brady was recognized as State Coach of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors following his successful campaign and also claimed District 10 Co-Coach of the Year accolades from the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The postseason run and accolades came with a renewed emphasis on defense as the Dukes posted their best defensive scoring mark (64.6 points per game) since 1984-85, predating the three-point shot. JMU also set program records in blocks, steals and fewest turnovers.
A former college point guard, Brady saw his point guard, senior Devon Moore, set a program assists record with 502, the first JMU player ever to surpass 500. Moore was also Second Team All-State and Third Team All-CAA. He was named to the CAA All-Tournament Team along with senior forward Rayshawn Goins and Tournament MVP A.J. Davis, who was later invited to compete with the top seniors in the country at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in front of NBA scouts and executives.
Despite missing two starters for most of the 2011-12 season and limitations to other key players, Brady's Dukes battled to an eighth-place finish in the Colonial Athletic Association at 5-13 in the league. Senior Humpty Hitchens and junior A.J. Davis proved to be one of the top scoring tandems in the conference, each ranking in the top seven. Hitchens and junior Devon Moore also became just the fourth teammates in JMU history to each record 100 assists in a season.
Known as a "shot doctor," Brady continued to build that pedigree, evidenced in the progression of Julius Wells from a high school interior player to one of the best perimeter shooters in JMU history. Despite missing half of his senior season, Wells finished eighth in JMU history in scoring with 1,414 points. He also placed second in career three-pointers made (247) and attempted (703).
The 2010-11 season was one to remember in many ways for the Dukes as they continued their climb to the upper echelon of the always-competitive CAA. JMU started the year at 15-3 and tied for the best 18-game start in program history, which earned Madison votes in the Associated Press poll for the first time in nearly 20 years.
The Dukes weathered a three-game losing streak from that point and managed to finish sixth in the CAA. JMU then received a postseason invitation for the second time in Brady's three seasons by advancing to the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). The Dukes finished in the top 100 of the national ratings percentage index (RPI) and matched the program record for road victories with 10.
As a team, the offense proved formidable averaging 71.4 points per game, good for third in the CAA. The Dukes were also second in the league in field goal percentage (.458) and third in three-point field goal percentage (.378).
Individually, Denzel Bowles turned in a season for the JMU record books, becoming the 24th player in school history to score 1,000 points, the fourth with multiple 500-point seasons, the 11th with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds and the fifth to score at least 40 points in a game. All of that came in just two seasons for the 6-10 forward, who advanced to sign a professional contract in Lithuania. Bowles was named First Team All-CAA, First Team All-State, First Team All-District and the first player in JMU history to earn Mid-Major All-America accolades.
The second season for Brady started with much promise as four starters returned, including the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year in Julius Wells and an All-Rookie selection in Devon Moore, along with the anticipated second-semester debut of Texas A&M transfer forward Denzel Bowles.
However, the high anticipation was dissipated quickly as Moore went down in the preseason with an injury, starting forward Andrey Semenov missed all but four games due to injury, and forward Dazzmond Thornton was unavailable for the second semester.
With so many missing pieces, the Dukes compiled a 13-20 overall record and finished 11th in the CAA at 4-14. Despite the depleted roster, JMU took down sixth-place Drexel in the CAA Championship opening round and led eventual runner-up William and Mary in the semifinals by 14 points early in the second half before falling on a late rally by the Tribe.
Among the highlights, senior guard Pierre Curtis shifted into the starting point guard role in Moore's absence and placed in the top five in the league in assists (4.2 per game) and assists-to-turnover ratio (1.9). He established JMU records for minutes (4,137), games (126), starts (124), assists (463), and steals (175) while also finishing 16th in career points with 1,237.
Bowles did not disappoint when he became eligible after seven games. He became the first player in CAA history to lead the league in scoring (20.8 points/game), rebounding (9.2 per game) and field-goal percentage (.594), earning him Second Team All-CAA accolades. His 12 double-doubles in just 25 games ranked third in JMU history at the time he finished.
Wells, pressed into a high-scoring role, earned Third Team All-CAA honors after averaging 16.3 points to rank in the top five in the CAA while also averaging 5.1 rebounds per game. He established JMU sophomore records for three-pointers (91), minutes (1,211), points (539), field-goal attempts (470), and three-point attempts (258).
Brady's first JMU squad compiled a 21-15 overall record and a 9-9 Colonial Athletic Association mark in 2008-09. The Dukes advanced in the CAA Tournament and reached the semifinals of the post-season CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
JMU's 21 wins matched the second-best season total in team history and were the Dukes' most in a season since 1992-93. JMU reached the 20-win plateau for the first time since compiling a 20-9 record in 1999-2000, the most-recent time the Dukes had finished a season with a winning record.
JMU's nine conference wins were its most in a season since finishing 12-4 in 1999-2000; the Dukes advanced in CAA Tournament for the first time since 2002-03; and their post-season tournament appearance was the program's first since 1993-94.
Brady joined the JMU staff after four seasons as head coach at Marist, and his first JMU team combined a nucleus of veteran players and an impressive group of newcomers. Senior forwards Juwann James and Kyle Swanston were the team's No. 1 and No. 3 scorers and junior guard Pierre Curtis its No. 5 scorer. Freshmen Julius Wells, Devon Moore and Andrey Semenov gave the Dukes the CAA's leading group of first-year contributors.
James was second-team All-CAA and led JMU with a 14.1-points-per-game scoring average; Swanston averaged 11.6 points and had 95 three-point field goals; and Curtis averaged 9.3 points and 2.8 assists. Wells was second on the team in scoring (11.6) and its leading rebounder (5.5) and was CAA rookie of the year. Moore joined Wells on the league all-rookie team and averaged 10.7 points and 2.9 assists, and Semenov averaged 8.2 points despite seeing only limited time late during the season because of illness.
During hte 2008-09 season, JMU improved its scoring differential from the previous season from minus-1.1 to plus-2.1, its scoring defense from 74.0 points per game to 68.5, its field goal percentage defense from 48.5 percent to 42.3 and its three-point shooting percentage defense from 36.9 percent to 30.6.
* * *
Brady was introduced as JMU's head coach March 26, 2008 on the playing floor of the JMU Convocation Center after developing the Marist program into a top contender in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Brady assumed responsibility for a program that had gone eight seasons without a winning record but was enthusiastic about the opportunity to be at JMU and to compete in the CAA.
Brady accomplished plenty at Marist, compiling a 73-50 record in four seasons with the Red Foxes and improving their wins total from the previous year during each of his first three seasons with the team.
Marist in 2007-08 was 18-14 despite playing most the second half of the season without its second-leading scorer. The Red Foxes were 25-9 in 2006-07 when they won their first Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title and posted a National Invitation Tournament win at Oklahoma State. They were 19-10 in 2005-06 and 11-17 in 2004-05 after being 6-22 in 2003-04, the season before Brady's hiring.
Marist in 2007-08 under Brady was 11-7 in MAAC regular-season play and reached the semifinals of the league tournament. The Red Foxes played 13 games without 12.1-points-per-game scorer Louie McCroskey and in non-league play had victories over Bucknell, Colgate, Richmond, Wright State and Colonial Athletic Association members Delaware and Hofstra. Their non-league losses were to Cleveland State, Houston, Massachusetts, Miami, St. John's and Temple.
During the 2007-08 season, Marist averaged 8.0 three-point field goals made and 21.0 three-pointers attempted per game and had MAAC co-freshman of the year Jay Gavin, who led the team with a 12.3-points-per-game scoring average.
The Red Foxes set a team record for wins during their 25-9 season in 2006-07 when Brady was the MAAC and New York City-area coach of the year. They had the MAAC player of the year in guard Jared Jordan, a two-time NCAA Division I assists champion and the 45th overall choice in the National Basketball Association draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Their roster also included guard Will Whittington, who led the nation with 137 three-pointers and finished his career ranked 15th in NCAA history in three-pointers made.
Marist in 2006-07 played in the inaugural Old Spice Classic at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex, and the Red Foxes in 2007-08 took part in the inaugural O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament that included three nationally televised games. They had wins over Minnesota and Western Michigan in the Old Spice Classic and met Miami, Houston and Temple that season in Puerto Rico.
Marist in 2005-06 had 19 wins in a season for only the fifth time in team history and compiled an eight-game winning streak, the program's longest in more than six years. Jordan led the nation in assists for the first of two seasons, averaging 8.5 per game, and was first-team All-MAAC, and Whittington was third-team All-MAAC after averaging more than 15 points per game and having 103 three-pointers.
Whittington and Jordan both also received all-league honors in 2004-05 during Brady's first Marist season.
A 1987 Siena graduate and a native of Haddon Heights, N.J., Brady was a Division I assistant coach for 17 seasons. He worked at Rhode Island under Tom Penders from 1987-89, at Wagner under Tim Capstraw from 1989-93, and at Saint Joseph's from 1993-2004 under John Griffin for two seasons and Phil Martelli for nine.
While Brady was at Saint Joseph's, the Hawks appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times and the NIT three times and won four Big 5 championships and three Atlantic 10 titles. Saint Joseph's in 2003-04 was 27-0 during the regular season, earned a No. 1 national ranking and a top seed for the NCAA Tournament, and reached the Elite Eight during the postseason.
Brady was involved in recruiting several of the top players in Saint Joseph's history, including 2004 national player of the year Jameer Nelson, who was freshman of the year by Sports Illustrated and Eastern Basketball. He also took part in recruiting Delonte West, who was player of the year in the Washington, D.C., area, an honorable mention Associated Press All-America and a second-team All-America by Sports Illustrated, and Abdulai Jalloh, who played two seasons at Saint Joseph's and two at JMU.
Brady was credited with impressive shooting by players at Saint Joseph's, whose 2003-04 squad set a team record with 313 three-point field goals. Marist also had dramatic statistical improvements under his direction, ranking in the top three in the 10-team MAAC in overall field goal percentage, three-point percentage and three-pointers per game during each of his four seasons. The Red Foxes were ninth in the league in field goal percentage, 10th in three-point percentage and sixth in three-pointers per game the season before his arrival.
Marist during the 2005-06 season led the MAAC and was ninth nationally with a .490 shooting percentage for the season.
* * *
As a player at Siena, Brady appeared in 114 career games, including 92 as a starter. He completed his career as the program's all-time assists leader (593), and he was inducted into the school's hall of fame in 1993. For his career he accumulated 1,106 points (9.7 points per game) and was a 45.9 percent shooter from the field.
Brady was a standout at Paul VI High School in Haddon (N.J.) Township and was named to the 1980s South Jersey All-Decade Team. He was enshrined in the Camden County Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 25, 2012.
Brady and his wife, Mary, have three young sons -- Logan and twins Cole and Griffin.
BRADY'S COACHING BACKGROUND
Brady's Coaching Career
1987-89: Assistant coach under Tom Penders at Rhode Island, including during a "Sweet 16" season in 1987-88.
1989-93: Assistant coach under Tim Capstraw at Wagner.
1993-2004: Assistant coach under John Griffin (1993-95) and Phil Martelli (1995-2004) at Saint Joseph's, including during four NCAA Tournament (1997, 2001, 2003, 2004) and three NIT seasons (1995, 1996, 2002).
2004-08: Head coach at Marist, including during a 2006-07 NIT season.
2008-Present: Head coach at JMU, three 20-win seasons and three postseason appearances (including NCAA 2012-13), one CAA championship
Season, Position, School, Record
2012-13, Head Coach, JMU, 21-15
2011-12, Head Coach, JMU, 12-20
2010-11, Head Coach, JMU, 21-12
2009-10, Head Coach, JMU, 13-20
2008-09, Head Coach, JMU, 21-15
2007-08, Head Coach, Marist, 18-14
2006-07, Head Coach, Marist, 25-9
2005-06, Head Coach, Marist, 19-10
2004-05, Head Coach, Marist, 11-17
2003-04, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 30-2
2002-03, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 23-7
2001-02, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 19-12
2000-01, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 26-7
1999-00, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 13-16
1998-99, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 12-18
1997-98, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 11-17
1996-97, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 26-7
1995-96, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 19-13
1994-95, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 17-12
1993-94, Assistant Coach, St. Joseph's, 14-14
1992-93, Assistant Coach, Wagner, 18-12
1991-92, Assistant Coach, Wagner, 16-12
1990-91, Assistant Coach, Wagner, 4-26
1989-90, Assistant Coach, Wagner, 11-17
1988-89, Assistant Coach, Rhode Island, 13-15
1987-88, Assistant Coach, Rhode Island, 28-7
JMU Head Coaching Record: 88-82 (Five Seasons)
Career Head Coaching Record: 161-132 (Nine Seasons)