Born and raised in Western NE, Brandl returns as MCC head coach

McCOOK, Neb. (KNOP) - New McCook Community College men's basketball coach Jacob Brandl is a native of North Platte, graduating from St. Pat's High School in 2006. Brandl played for Kevin O'Connor at North Platte Community College for two seasons, before heading to Dana College in Blair, and eventually graduated from Midland University.

Jacob Brandl will get his first experience as a head coach with the Indians in 2020. (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)

Brandl was a graduate assistant for the Midland basketball team, and in 2012, Brandl went to Dakota Wesleyan University to pursue a master's degree, and coach as an assistant for the Tigers.

Brandl was a water boy for the NPCC men's basketball team when he was younger, before playing for the Knights in college. Now, he will be coaching the team's biggest rival against his former head coach.

"It's going to be fun. I still consider coach O'Connor a mentor and friend, and that's never going to change, but to be able to call him a colleague as well as being able to coach against him, that's going to be truly special to me, and that's something that hasn't quite really processed to me yet," Brandl said. "The amount of respect that I have for coach OC and what he's done, not only in my life and my career, but a bunch of other players lives and careers, and for what he's done for the city of North Platte and the college is phenomenal. Just to be considering in the same sentence as coach OC, and be able to coach against him that's something special."

As a coach, Brandl has the opportunity to shape the lives of his players, which he has had the opportunity to do at DWU, and is excited to continue to do at MCC.

"I love the relationships that you build with your players, and being able to help them not just on the basketball court, being able to set them up for life. At the junior college level, you're getting for a four year school, so that's something that I was obviously very interested in. Not only that, being able to be close to home, around family, and being a program and a community college that I'm pretty familiar with, everything just kind of linked up and to me it was no brainer," Brandl said.

Brandl still has family in the area, and his wife has family nearby as well. He was also drawn to the Indian program because of the community support for the team, and the family atmosphere surrounding the team, that reminds him of the atmosphere at DWU.

"I just thought it was a place that could be pretty special and could just really tell that's a very family-oriented place. I knew I had to be a part of it and something I felt that you could build a winning program at," Brandl said.

This will be Brandl's first time as a head coach, and he excited for a new experience.

"Being able to build something and being able to have the direct impact that I can have in my two roles at McCook Community College, not only as the head coach, be as a career coach. Being able to help students in multiple roles is something that's pretty cool, and something that I've always wanted to do, and that's why I got into coaching the first place," Brandl said.

Brandl replaces Kyle Drennan, who coached for the Indians for one season, before becoming the Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The Indians were 15-16 in 2019-20.