McNeese Acting Head Coach Brandon Chambers Discusses Emotional Win over VCU
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - McNeese Assistant Coach Brandon Chambers arrived in Lake Charles after a long journey with stops at Marymount University, LSU, Texas Southern, and multiple other schools. However, Chambers’ journey began at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, and on Monday, in his first game as a Division I head coach, Chambers returned to Richmond and led the McNeese Cowboys to a win over his alma mater.
“It was special obviously for our guys to start 1-0, and for me personally, graduating from VCU, starting my career there as a student manager, I couldn’t have asked for a better story, a better start to my career. The opportunity to have it back home really, in the 804 against my alma mater, in front of family and friends was something that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” said Chambers.
Chambers graduated from VCU in 2011 and was a student manager for the Rams’ 2010-11 squad that went to the Final Four after winning the Southwest Regional following wins over USC, Georgetown, Purdue, Florida State, and Kansas.
Chambers served as the acting head coach in Monday’s 76-65 win over VCU, a role he is splitting with fellow assistant coach Vernon Hamilton, as the two will alternate games until Will Wade returns from his 10-game suspension. Wade also spoke about Chambers on Thursday, saying it meant a lot to him to see Chambers help lead the Pokes to a win in Richmond.
“I was so happy for him, we’ve been preparing for them for a while, the two of us started watching tape on them in the summer. I’m just thrilled for him, you couldn’t write a better script, talk about life coming full circle, from where he was at VCU as a student manager, and a student, to where he is now, it’s just incredible. A lot of his family was there, so that was really cool seeing them sitting behind the bench, and them being able to be excited with him. He’s earned everything he’s gotten, he’s had a rough go of it at life in some instances, and a rough go at it in coaching, but he gets off the mat and he always responds and finds a way, and it’s just so incredible, I was so happy for him, I was as happy for him as I was for our guys,” said Wade.
Following the win on Monday night, Chambers was drenched by the team as he walked into the locker room, a moment he says he’ll never forget.
“I walked into the locker room with zero clue, and I can’t put it into words, I love those dudes more than they’ll ever know, and I always say this it’s my mantra, ubuntu, I am because we are, I exist for them, my job is to help serve them, help them get better on, and off the court, and as much as I pour into them, for them to kind of wrap their arms around me at a moment like that was really cool, and after the water and what not, I did get emotional after and I told them, a lot of you didn’t know this, I didn’t want to make this about me, some of them already did know, but I went to VCU. 14 years ago I told Shaka Smart that I wanted to be a head coach, and you deal with the nos, and the rejection, and it becomes special, and just to have that moment, I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else,” said Chambers.
Chambers will serve as the acting head coach for four more games against Champion Christian, Western Carolina, Louisiana Tech, and UT Martin, while Vernon Hamilton will serve as the acting head coach against College of Biblical Studies, LeTourneau, Texas State, UAB, and the Mississippi University for Women, before Will Wade returns on December 13th against Southern Miss.
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