NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New Lipscomb men’s basketball coach Casey Alexander wants to win basketball games, but he also wants to unite former players, alumni, fans and students behind his program.
Alexander made strides in bringing the former players together with a luncheon Sunday afternoon in the Hall of Fame Room at Allen Arena. Approximately 50 former players, representing teams from the late 1940s to the NCAA Division I era were in attendance.
“The whole intent of this lunch was really to share the message for you guys to know that whether you played here one season, four seasons, on the NAIA National Champions, or only played on the freshman team like my Dad did, you are a Bison,” Alexander said to the former players. “It doesn’t matter what era you played in.
“We need every one of you to be a part of this program. We want every one of you to be a part of this program. We want you to know that you are expected here, invited here, wanted here, loved here and celebrated here.”
Alexander, who called Lipscomb athletic director Philip Hutcheson the first day the job was open, stressed the main reason he wanted to coach Lipscomb was the quality of the people past and present that are a part of the program.
“I know what this group means,” Alexander said. “I also know what the ones who aren’t here, that we need to get back here, can do for us. We have to all do our part to make sure everybody knows we are all here for the same purpose, headed in the same direction and headed for big things.”
Alexander mentioned players from several decades. George McIntosh and Hardeman Herndon represented the 1949 team. Miles Ezell, Howard Johnson and Lee Marsh were present from the 1950 team. John Henderson and Bob Mason were part of the 1951 team.
There were also several members of the Charlie “Tiger” Morris era teams from 1956-66.
Some of the NCAA era players present were James Poindexter, Michael Lusk, Eddie Ard, Corey King, Ryan Roller, Cam Robinson, Ron Sarver and Russell Hankins.
Alexander also welcomed Andy McQueen, the all-time 3-point scorer for the Bisons. He couldn’t resist jokingly referring to the results of a Lipscomb-Belmont game.
“Andy is single-handedly the guy responsible for giving me a career high in points in a Belmont-Lipscomb game in 1995,” Alexander said. “I didn’t have a single game in my high school or college career where I scored 20 or more points in a game. But in that game, when Andy didn’t guard me I had 30. And I didn’t score any points in the game before that or the game after that.”
Alexander pointed to the 1951 team that beat Vanderbilt and also credited the players that helped make the transition from the NAIA to NCAA Division I.
Alexander added that any time there is a transition in coaches it is difficult. Alexander has his assistant coaches in place. The main job for them right now is to find players to fill out the roster for the 2013-2014 season.
“Our players have been incredibly receptive,” Alexander said. “We are off to a good start. But it is going to be hard. The biggest thing we all need to know is that as much as we want it to happen right now we are going to have to have some patience to do it the right way.
“The most important thing right now is that we don’t cut corners. We know absolutely the route we have to take. We have done it before. We know how to make this work. We have to really be steadfast in that approach.”
Alexander wants everyone to be proud of the product as well as the results.
“There won’t be any compromise with that,” Alexander said. “The product is what leads to the results.
“When we intentionally go out and find players that understand what Lipscomb is all about, that want to be a part of what Lipscomb is all about and that celebrate what Lipscomb is all about we are going to have a much better chance to win games. I want to let you know without any reservation that you can be assured we are going to represent you guys the best we can every step of the way.”
Former Lipscomb basketball player Richard Taylor, a member of the 1986 NAIA National Championship Team, introduced Alexander. Allen Banks, also a former player, closed out the presentation following Alexander’s talk. Roger Idstrom, associate head coach, provided the opening prayer.
The luncheon ended with a prayer circle surrounding Alexander and his assistant coaches led by former players John Pierce, the all-time scoring champion in the history of college basketball, and Steve Davidson, a former player and Lipscomb’s director of spiritual outreach.
“I really appreciate Andy Lane and Richard Taylor working together to initiate this event on such short notice,” Alexander said. “We had a great response from our former Bisons.
“This group made our program what it is today and we want to acknowledge their significant contribution. Their contribution is valued here. We need them to stay active in this program and help us make a difference for our current players and those yet to come.”