St. Louis - Saint Louis University head men's basketball coach Rick Majerus today announced several additions that will complete the Billikens' coaching staff for 2012-13.
Tanner Bronson has been promoted to assistant coach, taking the place of Chris Harriman. Mike Lepore has been named director of basketball operations, while former Billiken Danny Brown has been added as senior graduate manager.
Bronson, who last year served as graduate assistant manager under Majerus, enters his second season on the Billiken basketball staff. Prior to arriving at SLU, Bronson was an assistant coach with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA D-League, where he had the opportunity to coach several NBA players.
A 2008 graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Bronson played four years for the Badgers. Starting as a team manager in 2003-04, he was added to the roster as a walk-on in 2004-05. Bronson eventually was offered a scholarship by head coach Bo Ryan and appeared in 29 games during his Wisconsin career.
"I have known Tanner Bronson since he was seven years old when he came to my basketball camp," Majerus said. "Although an honor student with a degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Tanner's passion in life is coaching.
"Tanner is an extraordinarily hard worker, self-starter and student of the game. Best of all, for our players, we are bringing on board an extraordinary teacher who is really adept and has demonstrated a record of making players better. He is Jim Whitesell, Alex Jensen and Porter Moser on the come. Furthermore, his understanding and knowledge of the game, having played at Wisconsin and coached in the NBA Developmental League, catapulted him to the top of my list. On a campus of superstar academicians, phenomenal teachers and educators extraordinaire, no one will work harder than Tanner Bronson."
Lepore comes to SLU from Wake Forest, where he both played and served on the staff for the Demon Deacons. Lepore most recently was the director of scouting/recruiting, while also serving the roles of team videographer and assistant coordinator of operations during his three-year tenure with the Demon Deacons.
A four-year walk-on guard at Wake Forest, Lepore played in 19 games during his career, including 10 contests as a senior in 2008-09. He played two seasons each under Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio. Lepore was a four-time member of the ACC Academic Honor Roll during his playing career.
"Mike Lepore first caught my eye as a walk-on for the late, great Skip Prosser," Majerus said. "Dino Gaudio could not recommend Mike any more highly, and the same can be said for current Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik. Mike is a brilliant young man who will be an excellent role model for our players.
"Mike is an NBA-ready videographer, receiving an exceptional rating from every coach he ever had relative to his work ethic, devotion to the game and ability to help individuals become better people and better players."
Brown played for the Billikens from 2004 to 2008, with his final year coming in Majerus' first season with the Billikens. He appeared in 116 games over his four-year career and scored at a 5.2 ppg clip. Brown's best season came in his senior year, when he scored 7.0 ppg. Brown has spent the past several years working in the business world, having most recently served as an enrollment coordinator at the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College.
As senior graduate manager, Brown will assist in numerous aspects of the program while working toward a master's degree at the University. The senior graduate manager position at SLU is a proven springboard for those wishing to coach full-time. Former Billiken senior graduate managers include Alex Jensen (head coach, Canton Charge of the NBA D-League), Terrence Rencher (assistant coach, Sam Houston State), Tony Young (head coach, East St. Louis High School) and Bronson (assistant coach, SLU).
"I was first introduced to Danny Brown as a player and I immediately fell in love with his passion and dedication to the game," Majerus said. "In spite of what should have been a career-ending injury, Danny fought back and played superbly for us in the latter half of the 2007-08 season. When I hugged Danny at graduation, I always hoped that he would want to pursue coaching as well as his advanced degree. Danny will be a bright, loyal and driven coach because that is the way he performed as a player. Danny will be a great mentor to our players in their academic endeavor as well as in their quest to become as tough a player as he was.
"Finally, at the end of our interview, when everybody says, 'Coach, there is one more thing I want to talk to you about before I come on board,' Danny asked, 'Can I still keep my commitments to my church? And you have to understand my faith is the most important thing in my life.' My response was, 'Well said Danny, and have at it.'"