Friends since high school, Graduates in College

Dylan Brewster and Isaiah Campbell are longtime best friends who served as graduate assistants under Rob Lanier while he coached at Tennessee. Photo by Ayesha Patel | The Signal

The men’s basketball team was practicing on a Thursday in the practice gym. The players were accompanied by head coach Rob Lanier and his assistant coaches. They were also accompanied by graduate assistants Dylan Brewster and Isaiah Campbell.

Both Brewster and Campbell previously worked with Coach Lanier at the University of Tennessee. Campbell was a manager on the men’s basketball team for two years; Brewster was a graduate assistant the year the Volunteers reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

When Lanier was hired as the new head coach of the Georgia State men’s basketball team, both Campbell and Brewster accompanied him to Atlanta, along with a few other assistant coaches from Tennessee as well. It was a smooth and seamless transition for all involved.

“It was good working together,” Campbell said. “Good being able to get a chance to work together again coming here.”

As graduate assistants, Brewster and Campbell have a variety of responsibilities. They break down film of previous games, compile scouting reports on upcoming games, collect stats during the games and also form good relationships with the players both on and off the court.

“We are trying to coach and help these guys get better, but off the court, you know, we have relationships with them,” Campbell said. “We get along with them, joke around, stuff like that, but once we get on the court, you know, it’s time to get to business.”

The job carries several benefits. Their entire time at graduate school is fully paid for as a result of the job. In addition, they receive a monthly stipend, which can be used to help pay for basic necessities, like rent and groceries.

Both men have deep roots in basketball. Brewster played basketball at Lenoir City High School as a combo guard. While playing for the Panthers, Brewster scored 1,000 career points and set a school record for points in a game (52) in a win over Wartburg.

After graduating from high school in 2014, he attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he was a manager for the men’s basketball team in 2014-15, a graduate assistant in 2015-16 and even played for the team in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

He appeared in seven games as a junior and due to injury, only six games as a senior. Prior to his senior season, he was placed on scholarship, thanks to the new head coach who took over.

After graduating from UTC with a communications degree in 2018 and a perfect 4.0 GPA, he went to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he became a graduate assistant for the Volunteers’ basketball team under Lanier.

Campbell played point guard at Bearden High School in Knoxville and later again at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, playing for two years. 

Brewster and Campbell have known each other since playing against each other in high school. They’ve played each other 10 times, with Brewster only winning once.

“My teammates and me had a really good time winning some games in Lenoir City,” Brewster said. “[Campbell’s] team’s a powerhouse.”

As far as those their education goes, Brewster is majoring in sports management and Campbell in education and human development. Brewster wants to coach basketball some day, and Campbell wants to become a scout and personnel guy in the NBA. This job will be a great stepping stone to the future.

“I just want to be able to coach the game and help kids out,” Brewster said.