NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University has always been home.
The Bruins officially welcomed new head men's basketball coach Casey Alexander back to the program at Thursday morning's introductory press conference at the Curb Event Center.
Alexander, a former Belmont player and assistant coach under legendary head man Rick Byrd, is taking over for his longtime mentor as the 10th head coach in program history.
"Continuity was important to me," Belmont Director of Athletics Scott Corley said. "Belmont basketball and Belmont University, we do things a little differently. It was important to find somebody who understands what we value and what we're about.
"I was also looking for someone who's a proven leader and proven winner. Someone with high character who could take over this program and fill Coach Byrd's shoes. We're very blessed because Casey checks all those boxes and then some."
Byrd won 805 games in his career, the majority of those at Belmont during a 33-year coaching career with the Bruins. He announced his retirement April 1 after leading the Bruins to their first NCAA Tournament victory in program history last month.
Before serving as head coach at Lipscomb for the past six seasons and two more at Stetson prior to that, Alexander was an assistant on Byrd's coaching staff from 1995-2000. He played point guard for the Bruins prior to that.
"Very few people in my life are more important than Coach Byrd has been," Alexander said. "In my mind as a guy who spent 20 years learning from him, it's always going to be his program – whether he likes it or not. It's a real privilege and honor to carry the torch, Coach.
"I would be foolish to come in and make a lot of changes. It's been a really good winning formula. I've spent a lot of time with Coach Byrd, and that's my most basic DNA. We're not going to deviate too much.
"We will play high tempo. I think you'll love watching the teams, the quality of the games, the toughness and togetherness our players will play with. We will not sacrifice anything in that regard."
A product of nearby Brentwood Academy, Alexander played point guard for Byrd at Belmont from 1991-95. He compiled a 119-25 record as a player, and helped lead Belmont to the top of the NAIA. As a senior in 1995, Alexander directed the then-Rebels to a 37-2 record, a No. 1 national ranking and an appearance in the NAIA National Semifinals.
From there, he spent 16 seasons as part of Byrd's coaching staff. Belmont won 287 games with Alexander on staff. Over Alexander's final eight seasons, the Bruins tallied 172 victories, six postseason appearances (four NCAA Tournaments, one NIT, one CIT), four Atlantic Sun Conference regular season championships, four Atlantic Sun Conference tournament titles and a remarkable 132-41 record in Atlantic Sun play.
Alexander's first head coaching stop came at Stetson in 2011 before he helped turn Lipscomb into a mid-major contender. The Bisons won 113 games during Alexander's tenure, including 72 over the final three campaigns. Under Alexander's watch, Lipscomb made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history in 2018.
The Alexander Era begins now at Belmont and and basketball season tickets for the 2019-20 season are already on sale. Purchase your tickets here.
About Belmont Basketball
Belmont University men's basketball has earned postseason invitations 13 of the last 14 seasons, including eight berths to the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins have won 17 conference championships since 2006 - third-most nationally over that span (Gonzaga, Kansas). Belmont is one of only six NCAA Division I programs outside the Power 5 to post Top 100 RPIs nine consecutive seasons (BYU, Gonzaga, Saint Mary's (CA), San Diego State, Wichita State). Belmont is one of only nine NCAA Division I programs to win 19 or more games 14 consecutive seasons (BYU, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Michigan State, North Carolina, San Diego State). Belmont University men's basketball boasts an NCAA-leading 17 CoSIDA Academic All-America selections since 2001 and is one of only three NCAA Division I programs to make the NCAA Academic Progress Rate (APR) Honor Roll every year of existence.
About Belmont University
Ranked No. 6 in the Regional Universities South category and consistently named as a "Most Innovative" university by U.S. News & World Report, Belmont University is home to more than 8,300 students who come from every state and more than 36 countries. Committed to being a leader among teaching universities, Belmont brings together the best of liberal arts and professional education in a Christian community of learning and service. The University's purpose is to help students explore their passions and develop their talents to meet the world's needs. With more than 90 areas of undergraduate study, more than 25 master's programs and five doctoral degrees, there is no limit to the ways Belmont University can expand an individual's horizon. For more information, visit www.belmont.edu.