GEORGETOWN — On Aug. 25, his 30th birthday, Chris Briggs was named head coach of the Georgetown College men's basketball team.
Just more than two weeks ago, he made his debut as Tigers coach in a 122-105 exhibition loss to an all-star team of NBA players with Kentucky ties.
Less than 12 hours after the exhibition, wife Elizabeth gave birth to the Briggs' first child, Reagan Annelise.
Thursday, the new father will make his regular-season debut as head coach as Georgetown plays host to Miami University-Hamilton.
An assistant for four years, Briggs takes over from Happy Osborne, now associate head coach at Tennessee Tech.
All Osborne did was take the Tigers to the NAIA national tournament each of his 15 seasons, with a national title, two finals and four Final Fours, averaging 30.4 wins.
"It'll be (weird) at first, but we'll get used to it," center Maurice Pearson said of having Briggs call shots Thursday. "Chris has been here. Coach (Andre) Mahorn has been here. So their voices are not unfamiliar to some of us."
In large part because of Pearson, Briggs thinks his Tigers will be fine.
A 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior from Silver Springs, Md., Pearson is the first player Briggs mentions on his team.
"He's going to be the anchor of our team," Briggs said. "He's got to lead. He has great leadership qualities. He works hard on and off the court. Great in the classroom."
Pearson transferred to Georgetown in his freshman year after a coaching change was made at Ohio University.
"When I first came, I didn't have an idea of who I could be, what I could bring to the table," Pearson said. "I always knew I could rebound. I was athletic. But, mostly, this game is more mental than being athletic and stuff. So I really focused on learning the game, to be better each and every year."
In 21 games as a Georgetown freshman, he averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds.
A knee injury that required surgery limited Pearson to nine games as a sophomore (6.2 points, 4.5 rebounds).
Last year, over 36 games and limited practices, Pearson averaged 11 points and 6.6 rebounds. His best play came in the national tournament at Kansas City, Mo.
"Wasn't quite 100 percent last year but played through it," Briggs said. "Had that little hobble. Once we got to the national tournament, he was playing as well as anybody in the country.
"Now, this year, I think he's 100 percent healed. He was smart on it this summer. Didn't play a whole lot, didn't get a whole lot of running up and down, but concentratred on strengthening that leg, strengthening that knee and those muscles around it, and he's been fantastic so far."
A psychology and Spanish major, Pearson is on track to graduate. Someday he'd like to be a counselor.
For now, though, he says he wants to keep improving.
"I just try to do whatever it takes to win," Pearson said. "So whatever my team needs me to do, I'll do it."