Longtime and recently retired Southern Oregon men’s basketball coach Brian McDermott passed away Thursday afternoon at his home in Talent.

McDermott officially retired last May after a cancer diagnosis prior to the Raiders’ 2021-22 season opener forced him off the sidelines for the duration of that season.

He coached the Raider men’s basketball team for 26 years, the longest tenured head coach ever at Southern Oregon University in any sport.

McDermott, the team’s all-time leader in wins and a four-time conference or district coach of the year, wrapped up at SOU with a record of 410-352 and seven of the program’s nine all-time national tournament appearances. Over his final 10 seasons – including the abbreviated spring 2021 campaign that proved to be his last – the Raiders went 204-98.

The Iowa native took over at SOU in 1996-97 on the heels of seven straight losing seasons, and within three years he led the Raiders to their first Cascade Conference championship and their first national tournament since 1968.

SOU’s last full season with McDermott was 2019-20, which the Raiders finished at No. 8 in the NAIA coaches’ poll when the national tournament was canceled a day after they advanced to the Round of 16.

He was admired and respected by his SOU and Cascade Conference colleagues, student-athletes, and by the collegiate basketball coaching community nationwide. 

McDermott is survived by his wife Jan, son Josh and daughter Josi. Information about service arrangements will be made available soon.

Content used with permission, compliments of SOU Sports
Photo by Al Case, Ashland Daily Photo.


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