UIC men’s basketball head coach Luke Yaklich completed his coaching staff by announcing that assistant coach Dee Brown will return for his fourth year with the Flames. Yaklich previously named Will Veasley (March 30) and Brock Erickson (April 1) to his bench to help lead the program. All three bio’s are below:
“I am so excited about our UIC Flames basketball coaching staff,” said Yaklich. “Brock, Dee and Will share many outstanding traits, but most importantly, they each have a genuine passion for teaching, coaching, recruiting and the individual growth and development of our players on and off the floor.
All three coaches bring unique winning experiences to our program,” added Yaklich. “Their playing and coaching experiences will be an incredible asset to the development of our student-athletes and our basketball program.”
Brown arrived at UIC prior to the 2017-18 campaign. He was instrumental in the development of three of the most decorated guards that have played at UIC. Tarkus Ferguson, Marcus Ottey and Godwin Boahen combined to play in 382 games with 297 starts, and each scored over 1,400 points over their four-year careers. Ferguson was a two-time All-Horizon League selection, while Ottey was a member of the conference’s All-Defensive Team in 2020. Boahen was tabbed the Horizon League Sixth Man of the Year in 2018, the first in program history.
“I am very excited to have Dee join our coaching staff,” said Yaklich. “His energy, passion and knowledge of the game will be instrumental for all of our players, but especially our point guards and guards. His love and passion for basketball in the state of Illinois and Chicago is evident at all times. He will be a tremendous mentor for our players. I’m excited for Dee to be able to impart his wisdom to our team on both ends of the court.”
Brown played at the University of Illinois from 2002-06. He helped the Fighting Illini capture Big Ten championships in 2004 and 2005 and reach the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament in 2005. He was named Sporting News National Player of the Year, a consensus First Team All-American and the Big Ten Player of the Year in 2005. Brown graduated as the winningest player in program history with 114 wins, and as the school’s all-time leader in minutes (4,698) and starts (136).
The Maywood, Ill., native was selected by the Utah Jazz in the 2006 NBA Draft and he spent a total of nine seasons as a professional basketball player in the NBA and internationally. He was a two-time champion in Europe and named Player of the Year with PBC Lukoil Academic in Bulgaria in 2015.
As a local prep standout at Proviso East High School, Brown was named Mr. Basketball in Illinois and a McDonald’s All-American in 2002.
Veasley most recently worked at North Dakota State University where he spent the last four years as an assistant coach for the Bison.
“I am so excited that Will has made the commitment to join our staff and begin building our program at UIC,” said Yaklich. “He has experienced incredible success in the Horizon League as a player during his time at Butler. As a coach, he has been an integral part of the success of the programs at North Dakota State and Illinois State over the past seven years.”
“I want to thank Coach Yaklich for this unbelievable opportunity to be back in my home state and back in the Horizon League where I spent four years as a college player,” said Veasley. “I’ve known Coach Yaklich for quite some time now and there isn’t a better coach, teacher or person whose vision I’d want to help contribute to and carry out for building a winning program. Coach Yaklich and our teams will do incredible things for UIC and the City of Chicago. My family and I can’t wait to get to campus and get to work.”
Veasley and Yaklich will be reuniting on the bench after spending three seasons together at Illinois State. Yaklich was an assistant coach for the Redbirds while Veasley served as a video coordinator for two years (2013-15) and was the team’s director of basketball operations in his final season (2015-16).
“Will and I started our college coaching careers at Illinois State where I saw his ability to connect with players and form life-long relationships. Will is an incredibly hard worker. His passion for teaching and coaching, combined with his knowledge and passion for the Horizon League and Illinois high school basketball, will make him an incredible asset for our student-athletes,” added Yaklich.
Veasley joined the staff at North Dakota State as an assistant coach before the start of the 2016-17 campaign and helped turn the Bison into one of the top teams in the Summit League. NDSU posted winning records in three of Veasley’s four years, highlighted by back-to-back conference championships the last two seasons. During the 2018-19 year, the Bison captured the conference title and defeated North Carolina Central in the NCAA First Four before falling to eventual Elite 8 participant Duke. The Bison repeated as conference champions and were bound for the NCAA Tournament once more after compiling a 25-8 record and a 13-3 mark in league play during the 2019-20 season.
No stranger to the Horizon League, Veasley is the all-time winningest player in Butler history and was a starter on the Bulldogs’ 2010 national runner-up team. As a four-year letterwinner at Butler, Veasley helped his team make four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Final Four run in 2010. Veasley and the Bulldogs were the regular-season Horizon League champions for four straight years and won the Horizon League Tournament in 2008 and 2010.
Following his collegiate career, Veasley played professionally for two years in Japan and in the NBA D-League before transitioning into coaching. He spent one season as the video coordinator at IUPUI (2012-13).
A native of Freeport, Ill., Veasley earned a degree in digital media production from Butler in 2010. He and his wife, Emily, have a son, Creighton, and a daughter, Dru.
Erickson most recently worked at Bryant University where he spent two seasons as the associate head coach.
“We are excited to have Brock Erickson as a member of our UIC Flames staff,” said Yaklich. “He brings a wide variety of experiences from different areas of the country. He has played an integral role in program building and winning at each school during his coaching career. He has earned a great reputation as a hard-working recruiter, which is something I saw and appreciated during my time at Illinois State. He has a passion and energy on the court and has played a key role in skill development on every staff. His ability to connect will make a great mentor for our student-athletes.”
“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to work with Luke,” said Erickson. “I share his vision of what the men’s basketball program at this great institution can become. I am honored to represent UIC and look forward to bringing a Horizon League championship to the University.”
In Erickson’s second year with the Bulldogs in 2019-20, he helped coach freshman Michael Green III to Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year honors, while guiding two additional student-athletes to All-NEC accolades. Benson Lin joined Green on the NEC All-Rookie Team and Adam Grant was tabbed as a Second Team All-NEC selection.
The Bulldogs controlled the glass last year, finishing the season 11th nationally in rebounds per game (40.28). Erickson’s first season saw Grant earn NABC All-District honors in addition to being one of three Bulldogs to garner All-NEC recognition. Off the court, the Bulldogs posted the highest GPA in program history while Erickson was on staff.
Erickson joined Bryant after serving as an assistant at Kent State during the 2017-18 season. The Golden Flashes advanced to the Mid-American Conference semifinals and picked up wins on the season over NCAA Second Round team Buffalo and Pac-12 member Oregon State. The Kent State backcourt was directed by Jalen Avery, the nation’s top player in assist-to-turnover ratio (5.04) that year.
Erickson spent four years (2013-17) on the staff at Iona, a tenure that featured four postseason bids. The Gales won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship in each of Erickson’s final two seasons to advance to the NCAA Tournament while earning NIT bids in Erickson’s first two years. Iona won 22 games in each of Erickson’s final two seasons, earning a 14seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and a 13seed in the 2016 field.
Prior to his time at Iona, Erickson served as the head coach at State College of Florida in Bradenton, Fla. In 2012-13, he guided the Manatees to a No. 8 ranking by the Florida College System Activities Association. His team led the nation in scoring that season at 95.1 points per game. SCF captured the 2013 Suncoast Conference Tournament title and qualified for the state tournament for the second time in 15 years.
Erickson’s coaching resume also includes stints as an assistant coach at Monroe College, College of Eastern Utah and City College of New York. All three programs set new benchmarks for wins during his time on the bench.
Erickson played collegiately at Rhode Island before transferring to Assumption. Erickson graduated from Assumption in 1998 with a degree in business communications.