Dayton grad assistant helping mold young guards

Brett Comer had storied career at Florida Gulf Coast

Brett Comer knew about his new boss, Dayton Flyers coach Anthony Grant, long before he interviewed for a job this summer.

Comer grew up in Winter Park, Fla. His favorite teams as a kid were the Florida Gators squads that won NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007. Grant was an assistant coach under Billy Donovan on the first national championship team.

PRESEASON POLL: Flyers get one top-25 vote

Comer’s favorite player when he was young was Jason Williams, who played point guard one season at Florida in 1997-98 when Grant was an assistant, before building a 12-year NBA career. In addition, Comer had three friends who played for Grant at Alabama.

Comer joined Grant's staff in August as one of two graduate assistants and has gotten to know the new UD coach better in the last three months.

“He knows what he’s doing with all his history and background,” Comer said. “He’s a good guy who would do anything for anybody. He really cares about his players and our staff.”

Storied career

Comer brings valuable experience to the Flyers, a team without much experience at point guard. He played the position at Florida Gulf Coast University and ranks 24th in NCAA history with 845 assists.

Comer averaged 6.6 assists as a sophomore in 2012-13 and helped lead the No. 15 seed Eagles to an upset of No. 2 Georgetown in the first round of the NCAA tournament and then a victory over San Diego State. Florida, which had current Dayton assistant coach Darren Hertz on the staff at the time, ended Florida Gulf Coast’s run in the Sweet 16.

RELATED: Flyers anxious to get season started

When Grant hired Comer, he told him he wanted him to have his hands in everything, from coaching the players on the floor in practice to development and scouting. He has played a big role in helping the freshman guards adjust to the college game.

“Jalen (Crutcher) has a chance to be really special as a point guard,” Comer said. “It’s exciting to work with a guy like that who’s eager to learn.”

Comer often works after practice with Crutcher and the other freshman guard, Jordan Davis. Junior point guard John Crosby and sophomore guard Trey Landers joined them Monday to practice ball screens.

Crosby is very skilled, Comer said, and can play the game. It’s just a matter of making the right decisions.

“He has a chance to be really good,” Comer said. “He works on his game a lot.”

Credit: Scott McIntyre

Credit: Scott McIntyre

Great opportunity

After his college career ended in 2015, Comer tried to make it in the NBA D League, but he was cut the Grand Rapids Drive. He thought about playing overseas but decided to retire from competitive basketball. He spent a year as a volunteer assistant at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

DAYTON TOP 10: Freshman seasonsA-10 wins;conference gamesbest recordsworst recordstop statsbest namesbest players from Detroitbest players from Chicago

Last fall, Comer decided to play again, this time for an ABA team in Orlando. He suffered a knee injury three games into the season, and he said, “That was it.”

At that point, Comer reached out to Michael Fly, an assistant coach at Florida Gulf Coast.

“Hey, I want to get into college coaching,” Comer said. “Can you reach out to anybody?”

Fly contacted Andy Farrell and Hertz, two assistants on Grant’s staff, and that’s how he landed this opportunity. Comer knew a little bit about Dayton because had met former Flyers Jordan Sibert and Paul Williams in the past and had seen UD Arena on TV a number of times.

“I couldn’t pass this one up,” Comer said.

About the Author