|Alma Mater:||Charleston Southern|
*Fourth season (69-57 overall)*
*2013-14 Big Sky Conference co-regular season champions**
*2013-14 Big Sky Conference tournament champions*
*2014 NCAA Tournament appearance*
*2015 and 2016 WBI appearances*
*2014 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year*
J. Travis Brewster enters his fifth season at the helm at the University of North Dakota and his 14th year with the women's basketball program. Brewster has led UND to three straight postseason appearances and 69 wins in his four seasons as head coach with a myriad of program firsts along the way.
Brewster, who spent nine years as an assistant under former head coach Gene Roebuck, guided the team into the first season in the Big Sky Conference in 2012-13. Once acclimated, his teams have ascended back to their normal perch near the top of the league standings and qualifying for national postseason tournaments with regularity.
Last season, UND rattled off 14 wins in its final 17 games to reach the postseason for a third consecutive season. North Dakota would host its first-ever postseason game and subsequently etch its first win in the opening round of the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI). That resilient team had rallied from a 4-10 start, and a 1-3 record in Big Sky play to finish 19-14 overall and 13-5 in league play, just a game back for second place in the regular season standings. In that mix was a rare six-game road winning streak that North Dakota will carry into the 2016-17 campaign.
His 2015-16 team was the first (in the Division I era) to win a national tournament game, a pair of wins at the 2014 Preseason Women’s National Invitational (at Towson University). That was part of a 7-1 start to the campaign, the best start on record in UND’s Division I era. UND would qualify for the Women’s Basketball Invitational at season’s end for its third postseason appearance in four seasons.
Brewster was named the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in 2013-14, guiding his team to a host of firsts and milestones in a season that will long be remembered. His second team went 22-10, 15-5 in league play and not only won a share of the Big Sky’s regular season title, but earned the opportunity to host the league tournament. It did so and cruised to the tourney title and the NCAA Division I Tournament-- all of those accomplishments becoming program firsts.
Accolades rained down on the club as he mentored the league’s Player of the Year (Madi Buck), Sixth Person of the Year (Emily Evers) and Newcomer of the Year (Kelsey Knox) along with a Big Sky Second Team accolade for Mia Loyd. Buck was also the school’s first Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-Region player and was an honorable mention All-America selection after a standout senior season.
His first season (11-18 overall) was highlighted by several monumental wins as well. The team entered its first season in the Big Sky Conference and promptly knocked off preseason favorite Idaho State on Jan. 3 for its first league win. A non-conference triumph over arch-rival North Dakota State provided the first victory in Brewster’s regime, a Nov. 30 win that helped UND retain bragging rights in the first game of the series since 2004. Nearly a month later, North Dakota defeated WNIT runner-up Utah 62-56 for the school’s first win over a power-5 conference (PAC-12) since joining Division I. Junior Megan Lauck poured in 29 points after halftime en route to a career-high 36 points in the season finale at Southern Utah, an effort that helped UND erase a 21-point second-half deficit.
The success has also come in the classroom as 26 players have earned All-Big Sky Academic honors in his four seasons. His teams are consistently among the best in the nation in combined grad point average, finishing with a 3.546 GPA in 2012-13, good for fifth-best among all NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams.
University of North Dakota athletics director Brian Faison announced Brewster as the sixth head coach of the North Dakota women’s basketball program in Feb. 2012. Brewster’s appointment came just weeks after former head coach Gene Roebuck announced that he would retire following his 25th season at the helm.
“Coach Brewster is one of the up-and-coming coaches in the game,” Faison said at the time of the hiring. “He brings a special combination of coaching, recruiting, administrative and communication skills to the position. In observing Coach Brewster over the past few years, he clearly knows how to effectively lead and motivate our student-athletes. He has a passion to continue the excellent competitive and academic traditions that have been built for women’s basketball at the University of North Dakota.”
“Travis has earned the right to move into the head coaching position,” Roebuck said. “He’s been instrumental in all phases of our program.”
During his nine years on Gene Roebuck’s staff, UND won over 71 percent of its games, three regular season conference titles, five conference postseason tournament titles and helped lead the program to three winning seasons during the four-year transition to NCAA Division I status. Two players earned conference player of the year accolades, three earned All-America status and nine earned first team all-conference honors.
“I learned so much from Coach Roebuck,” Brewster admits. “He taught me that it’s okay to keep things simple and be the best at it. It’s about what our program does, not about what other programs do. He gave me things and let me take it and make my own strides. It started with recruiting, then working with player development and then strategy. He always gave me great input.”
Brewster began his career at North Dakota as a graduate assistant coach for the men’s program during the 2001-02 season, then joined the women’s staff as a full-time assistant in 2002. From 2002-06, he served as recruiting coordinator and assistant coach. During those four years, the Sioux won four North Central Conference Tournament titles and consecutive NCC regular season titles in 2005 and 2006. In 2006, the team finished had a perfect regular season, won the NCC regular season and conference tournament titles and finished 34-1.
Brewster spent the 2007-08 season as an assistant coach and team travel coordinator at South Dakota State and helped guide the Jackrabbits to a 23-7 record, a Summit League regular season championship and an appearance in the Women’s NIT postseason tournament. He spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant coach and strength and conditioning liaison at Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Brewster returned to Coach Roebuck’s staff to start the transition from NCAA Division II to Division I status in 2008-09. In that first season UND went 18-11, posted a perfect 13-0 home record and won the season ending UND Spring Thaw Tournament. The next season UND won the 2010 Great West Conference regular season title and in 2012 won both the conference regular season and tournament titles en route to its first Division I postseason berth, the Women’s Basketball Invitational (WBI).
In the summer of 2010, Brewster was one of just a handful of coaches selected nationally to attend the Black Coaches & Administrators Achieving Coaching Excellence program, where he underwent training in on- and off-camera interviews, on-court teaching, conducting home visits, budgets, leadership, networking, contract negations, and maintaining a quality of life.
As a player at the collegiate level, Brewster played two seasons at Iowa Lakes Community College (‘90, ‘91), before moving on to Division I Charleston Southern (‘92, ‘93). At ILCC, Brewster played on teams that went 49-12; at CSU, he was a two-time defensive MVP and team captain in 1993.
After graduating Charleston Southern in 1994, he played three years of professional basketball in Europe. In 1994-95, he played for Grand Saconnex in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1995-96, he moved up to Olympia Basketball Regensdorf in Zurich, Switzerland. In his third and final year, 1996-97, Brewster played for Dungannon in Ireland and Villar in Switzerland. He was a two-time member of the Swiss all-star team.
After his professional career, Brewster returned to Iowa Lakes in 1998 as an assistant coach. In three seasons he helped guide the Lakes to an aggregate record of 68-27.
Brewster is a member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA).
His family includes his wife, Rebecca, daughter, Reganne, and sons, Drake and Kaid.