Veteran Belmont assistant contacted about becoming a head coach

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 at 11:21pm

Casey Alexander has been on the Belmont men’s basketball coaching staff for the last 16 seasons.

He might not be back for year No. 17.

The longtime assistant and Belmont graduate says he has been contacted indirectly about a head coaching job. He wouldn’t say which school contacted him but three Atlantic Sun Conference institutions  — Stetson, Florida Gulf Coast and Kennesaw State — currently have coaching vacancies.

“Naturally, universities in our league have probably taken notice of what we have done, so those schools are always going to be possibilities, at least from my perspective. They may see it differently,” Alexander said. “But if I am going to be at the Division I level, then the teams in our league would make the most sense or comparable conferences to the Atlantic Sun. Yeah, those are possibilities. They may be 1 percent or anywhere greater. That is something I would be willing to talk about, for sure.”

If Alexander is swooped away, he would leave the longest tenured coaching staff in the nation. Rick Byrd has been the Bruins’ head coach for 25 years. Brian Ayers is wrapping up his 13th season and Roger Idstrom has been at Belmont for 11 years.

But the timing to break up the band might not be better. Belmont is 30-4 and next week will be playing in its fourth NCAA Tournament in six years.

Alexander has played a huge role in Belmont’s growth from a low-profile NAIA program to a power in one of the more competitive non-Big Six conferences in Division I.  Not only does he tutor the point guards, but “Casey has had more influence on our success than he can possibly given credit for,” according to Byrd.

Belmont moved up to Division I in 1996 and Byrd said Alexander “pushed and pulled me, in some ways, into the Division I era.” As Belmont made the jump, Alexander greatly influenced Belmont’s strength and conditioning program, along with individual workouts and summer recruiting.

“He has been qualified and ready for some time,” Byrd said. “I think he is personally ready to have his own team and probably past it. ... He would like to have his own team. He can stay here. He loves Belmont. He loves Nashville. His family loves it here. But if you do this you, want to coach your own team. He’s ready and I hope that this year helps him get a chance.”

It wouldn’t be an easy move for Alexander because Belmont and Nashville is all he and his family have known. A graduate of Brentwood Academy, he played for Belmont and Byrd from 1992-95. He then served as a graduate assistant for one year before becoming a full-time assistant. In 2002, he was named Belmont’s associate head coach.

“A lot of my life’s work has been here,” Alexander said. “I have my wife here. My [three] kids love Belmont. Nashville is a great city. I know already that I am not leaving for a better place, maybe a comparable place but not a better place or one that fits me as well. So that will be difficult. That is what life is all about — being ready for those challenges and making the move.

"... I think everybody who gets in this business wants to be a head coach. I think I have been well prepared but it is not up to me decide when the opportunity comes. But I’m anxious for it.”

2 Comments on this post:

By: RTungsten on 3/9/11 at 9:41

Sounds like he has already made up his mind? Bad time to bring this up, especially when the team he coaches on is heading to the NCAA....but I guess that is what the press is for.

By: Dore4Life on 3/10/11 at 4:16

Agree with Coach Byrd on this 100%! Coach Alexander is more than ready to have his own team. Good luck to him in whatever the future has in store for him and his family. He certainly has been nothing but an asset to the Belmont men's basketball program, dating back to his playing days through the present!