TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Oct. 5) – Florida A&M men’s head basketball coach Robert McCullum announced the hiring of his basketball staff today. McCullum will be joined in guiding the Rattler program by Carlos Briggs and Jarrett Stephens. McCullum also added Patrick Benson as director of basketball operations. McCullum takes over the Rattlers with an emphasis on building a solid program and the coaching staff will play a major role in that effort.
“It’s a long time coming, but yet we ended up with a group of guys well suited to revitalize the basketball program. Each guy brings different experiences. Combined, I am very confident about their abilities to help elevate the program.
Briggs is no stranger to collegiate coaching, having coached for more than 18 years. Prior to FAMU, Briggs served for two seasons as an assistant coach for McLennan Community College, helping the Highlanders achieve two conference championships, one national tournament bid, and two top ten finishes in the rankings (No.9 in 2016; No.7 in 2017).
In his time before MCC, Briggs served as an assistant coach at Trinity Valley Community College, helping lead the Cardinals to a conference championship, an appearance in the NJCAA Sweet 16, and a No. 4 ranking at the end of the 2015 season.
Briggs also worked as an assistant coach at the University of Detroit – Mercy from 2007-2012. During his time at UDM, he was instrumental in helping the recovery of program – building the program to the point of securing berths in the NCAA and NIT tournaments.
McCullum values the breadth of Briggs’ experience. “Briggs is clearly the veteran of the staff. Over 20 years experience, with nine of those years as head coach outside Detroit. He took his team to three appearances in the JuCo national tournament. He attained one Final Four appearance in 2001 and his teams also enjoyed a stretch of being ranked No.1 in the country. A native of Detroit, with Midwest ties, he played at Baylor and has vast recruiting experience and is well respected. He is already making his presence felt landing quality recruits for the program, “ McCullum said.
Stephens has been coaching and training high school, college, and professional basketball players for 20 years. He has coached for USA Basketball and has trained more than 30 NBA players and over 40 professional international players. Some of these players include Jalen Rose, Amar’e Stoudemire, Rodney Hood, Thaddeus Young, Moe Harkless, Cameron Payne, Skal Labissiere, and Jonathan Isaac. Stephens comes to FAMU from IMG Academy where over the last two years he was the Associate Head Coach of the Varsity National Team. Last season they achieved a record of 28-2 and participated in the Dick’s National Championship.
“Stephens spent the last three seasons as a lead instructor at IMG Academy. There he thrived in the development of athletes. He assisted college and NBA players who trained to improve. He was involved in training and development. He has HBCU ties working at Clark-Atlanta and Lemoyne-Owen Memphis. He is a Cleveland native with ties to the south and the ability to teach on the floor and complements Briggs in recruiting and coaching,” McCullum said.
Patrick Benson is enterin his first season as the Director of Operations for the Rattlers. He spent the previous four years as a student manager for the University of Oregon Men’s Basketball team, for two of which he was the Head Manager. While with the University of Oregon, the Ducks went to the NCAA Tournament four times, reaching one Elite Eight and the Final Four this past season. He spent this past summer working for the Hoop Group as a Head Runner for their elite level summer basketball camp in Reading, PA. Patrick was born and raised in Portland, OR.
McCullum feels that Benson is a vital part of the organization. “I watched Patrick grow and develop from head manager to student-assistant in three years. He has an unbelievable work ethic. He will be the youngest on our staff, but a good addition to our chemistry,” McCullum said.