Longtime Belmont assistant coach Casey Alexander has broken up the band and is headed to a rival Atlantic Sun Conference school.
Alexander was named Stetson’s men’s basketball coach at a press conference on Wednesday. He leaves Belmont after 16 years under head coach Rick Byrd.
With Alexander’s departure, Belmont no longer has the longest tenured staff in the country. Byrd will begin his 26th season with the Bruins and assistants Brian Ayers and Roger Idstrom will start seasons No. 14 and No. 12, respectively, next winter.
But the timing appeared to be right for Alexander, a 1995 graduate of Belmont, to take the next step and become a head coach. The Bruins were coming off their fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last six years. Last season, they went 30-5 overall and 19-1 in the Atlantic Sun, winning both the regular-season and tournament championships.
Alexander was named Belmont’s associate head coach in 2002 and played a big role in helping the Bruins transition from NAIA to Division I.
“Only the players he played with, the players he coached and the staff he worked with can really appreciate just how much he has contributed to the success of Belmont basketball,” Byrd said. “Stetson is gaining a person who has a great work ethic, a keen understanding of the game and a caring attitude about his players.
“Casey is a great leader who inspires others with his integrity. All of us will miss his passion, competitiveness and daily friendship. We will be Hatter fans, except for two games a year.”
Alexander pursued all three coaching vacancies in the Atlantic Sun this year — at Stetson, Kennesaw State and Florida Gulf Coast.
After FGCU filled its position three weeks ago, Alexander turned his attention to Stetson — a private school based in DeLand, Fla. — and was one of six finalists for the job. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported on Monday night that Embry-Riddle head coach Steve Ridder — a possible frontrunner for the vacancy — had reached a verbal agreement on a contract extension, scratching him off Stetson’s list of finalists.
Then on Tuesday, Byrd said talks between Stetson and Alexander were “getting serious.”
Alexander replaces Derek Waugh, who stepped down in February. The Hatters were 8-23 overall and 6-14 in league play last season.
"I'm honored and humbled to be given this opportunity at Stetson,” Alexander said. “We have a program here with a rich history and we'll work hard to bring success back to DeLand. Expectation to win will not be delayed.”