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Taliek Brown to join Iona as assistant coach

The former UConn great has new gig after four seasons on the Huskies’ bench.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After stabilizing the roster following a wave of transfers earlier this offseason, UConn head coach Dan Hurley will now have to replace a hole on his coaching staff. Taliek Brown, who served as the Director of Player Development for the past four seasons, is leaving his alma mater to become an assistant under Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino at Iona.

Brown, UConn’s all-time assist leader and a member of the 2004 national championship team, was part of Hurley’s initial staff when the former Rhode Island coach came to Storrs in 2018. During Brown’s time on the Huskies’ bench, he served not only as Director of Player Development, where he organized community outreach and alumni events while managing graduate assistants, he also served as a mentor and calming presence for members of the Huskies’ backcourt.

At Iona, Brown will have the opportunity to learn from the controversial but undeniably successful Pitino, who has already built Iona into a regional power and frequent NCAA Tournament team in just two full seasons as head coach. As an assistant, Brown will be more involved in game planning, in-game decisions and recruiting. Working under Pitino could easily open up a door for him to become a head coach of his own someday.

With Brown gone, UConn does have a potential replacement available in Mamadou Diarra, who graduated with a master’s degree this spring after serving as a graduate assistant for the Huskies since medically retiring in 2019. Diarra’s familiarity with Hurley and staff, combined with the fact that his brother, Hassan, just transferred to Storrs from Texas A&M this offseason, makes him a viable option.

If Diarra isn’t the choice, maybe the Huskies can use another program great to take over the role from Brown.