KANSAS CITY -- Matt Brown coaches basketball at a school that doesn't play football within a league that doesn't sponsor football.
Football is nevertheless changing Brown's life.
Now finished with his sixth season in charge at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, the former Marshall staffer and West Virginia assistant coach is no longer part of the Summit League following Sunday's first-round conference tournament loss to North Dakota State.
The Kangaroos, right in the middle of the country, will begin play next season in the Western Athletic Conference.
"I think everyone wants to be a step ahead, just in case," Brown said last week in between a win against IUPUI and a recruiting trip. "Different schools go to different leagues and the next thing you know you've got six or seven schools and your league doesn't have an opportunity to play for a NCAA berth. Most universities want to stay ahead of the game, but I didn't think football would ever trickle down to our level."
The WAC, once one of the most entertaining football conferences in the country, was picked apart and ultimately fell apart during conference expansion.
The 2012 season was its last as a football league. Desperate to maintain the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the conference tournament winner, the WAC rebuilt itself and added new teams.
UMKC was added last month and joins a roster that now includes California State-Bakersfield, Chicago State, Grand Canyon University, Idaho, New Mexico State, Seattle, Texas-Pan American and Utah Valley.
"Obviously, there's a name recognition as far as the conference being known, so that's going to be good for us," Brown said.
The WAC has had at least two teams in the NCAA field in 24 of the 28 years the field has had at least 64 teams. UMKC has never been to the NCAA tournament in 38 years of Division I competition. Brown's team finished 8-24 this season and his overall record is 64-122.
He knew nothing but success before with his three years as an administrative assistant for Billy Donovan at Marshall and Florida and his 10 years as an assistant for John Beilein at Richmond and WVU.
"UMKC didn't have a lot of history and tradition," Brown said.
He's the eighth coach in school history and succeeded Rich Zvosec, who was fired after winning records in four of his six seasons.
Zvosec followed Dean Demopoulos, who spent but one season at the school and left for an assistant coaching job in the NBA.