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Bacari's Back

Tweet-happy player-turned-coach loves engaging students, motivating players

By ASHÉ LEWIS / VN STAFF WRITER
On September 13, 2016

 

When the Detroit Mercy men’s basketball season starts next month, the Titans will have a new head coach for the first time in nine years. But he’s hardly a stranger to the team or university.

 

Bacari Alexander was named UDM’s 21st head coach in April after former coach Ray McCallum was fired.

 

In his short time on campus, Alexander has already gained a reputation for engaging students, posting motivational quotes on Twitter and promoting the university. After a successful career as a player, and a six-year stint as a UDM assistant coach in the mid-2000s, Alexander is excited for his second Titan homecoming.

 

”It’s a distinct blessing, but at the same time, it could be burdensome as well,” Alexander said of his return to the university. “There’s a tremendous responsibility at this time in the city of Detroit for us all to raise our level and invest into our future.”

 

Alexander graduated from UDM in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Finance. He started his career elsewhere but came to UDM after his freshman year and appeared in 62 games for the Titans. His teams reached the NCAA Tournament in 1998 and 1999, beating St. John’s and UCLA.

 

His former teammate, Jermaine Jackson, is one of the team’s assistant coaches.

 

“Legendary I am not, but a good teammate that was a part of something special, I am,” he said.

 

 In addition to basketball, Alexander said he also enjoys reading books, doing calligraphy, and boating with his family.

 

Since school has started, he’s made a point to engage students. During welcome week, he handed out ice cream to freshmen and helped some move in to their dorm rooms.

 

“I think that it’s so important to understand what it is to have a sense of community,” he said. “Community is not just a place, it’s what takes place and I believe that it’s very important that we build the type of relationships with our student body, our faculty, our staff, our groundskeepers, our maintenance individuals, our other sports coaches because we really want people to come into Callihan Hall and not see the basketball team play, we prefer for them to come see their friends play and that’s the intent behind it.”

 

Many of the men’s basketball players are expecting a great season.

 

”So far, we’re just looking to win games, really improve on last year, and to just have a good start to the new season with all of the new players and coaches,” said freshman Cole Long. “Coach Alexander, I like him a lot. He just wants to win, so he’s always pushing us. He just really wants the best out of us, his people and athletes. The only thing I really expect out of him is to continue to keep pushing us and just try to make us better.”

 

Freshman Corey Allen said the team’s ultimate goal is to win the Horizon League Championship. It last won the league tournament and made it to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

 

Alexander said he’s stressing five core values to his team this year: unity, perseverance, appreciation, integrity and diligence. He combines those phrases into the acronym “U.P.A.I.D.”

 

“We’re trying to identify student athletes, coaching staff members, support staff members, and students on campus that have really paid the price to call themselves Titans,” he said. “Those are our core values. They sit at the nucleus of how we hire, how we retain talent, and how we attract it.”

 

Alexander’s already having an impact on the roster. Among his recruits: junior Isaiah Jones, to came to UDM from Mt. San Jacinto College in California.

 

 “Why wouldn’t I come?” he said. “Coach Alexander showed loyalty.”

 

 

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