Why Alexander Should be the Next Head Coach at Detroit Mercy

If Bacari Alexander is ever going to be Head Coach at his alma mater, then now is the perfect time. Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top assistant coaches, Alexander has paid his dues in college basketball coaching. Starting with the 2001-02 season, he was an assistant for six seasons at Detroit Mercy under Perry Watson. He then had two separate assistant coaching stints in the MAC, first for one season at Ohio University, and then for two seasons at Western Michigan.  He just finished his sixth season under John Beilein at Michigan. This is the kind of resume that should have mid-major conference teams lining up to interview him for head coaching jobs. Alexander is known for developing frontcourt players. This is important for the Titans, as they have been a guard-heavy team for years now. They need more balance on their team if they want to have sustained success.

Bacari  Alexander

Bacari Alexander. Photo courtesy of mgoblue.com

As a collegiate player, Alexander played two seasons at Robert Morris. He then came back home to Detroit Mercy and helped lead the Titans to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. He also played for the Harlem Globetrotters. Ironically, one of Alexander’s competitors for the coaching gig is his former teammate from those championship Titan teams, current UDM assistant Jermaine Jackson. Jackson was Horizon League (then MCC) Player of the Year in 1999. He then went on to play in the NBA for the Pistons, Bucks, Raptors, Magic, and Knicks. He also played in several leagues overseas. As a coach, Jackson was the head coach for two seasons at Mt. Clemens High School, and just finished his first season at Detroit Mercy, where he was the only coach retained following the recent firing of head coach Ray McCallum.


So if you want a former Titan player to be the new head coach, Alexander has as much college coaching experience as one would want. Although much less formal coaching experience, Jackson undoubtedly learned a ton from many different coaches in his vast time as a pro player. Both men will turn 40 later this year. Current MSU associate head coach Dwayne Stephens and Vince Taylor, who has been an assistant at several power conference schools, are also in the mix. Stephens and Taylor are both great candidates. But when you have not one, but two former players available whose stock as coaches are ascending, you have to hire one of them to be head coach.

If Alexander is hired as head coach, Jackson will most likely remain on staff as an assistant, at least for the near future. However, if Alexander does not get the head coaching job, he will stay at Michigan and likely get a different head coaching gig in the near future. And if Alexander were to be successful in that future non-UDM head coaching job, he would then likely ascend to a power conference job and he would be out of UDM’s reach for a while. (That is looking quite a bit ahead, but it is true). The time to take a chance with Alexander is now. If he is not able to change the culture and make the Titans a consistent mid-major power within four years, then hand the reigns over to Jackson. There is no doubt that Jackson will be a great college basketball head coach one day. But the amount of experience that Alexander has as a coach weighs more right now than Jackson’s playing experience. People will counter this argument with the “Steve Kerr Argument” that a person with little to no coaching experience can come in and get the job done. My response is that that can happen. But…1.) picking someone with more coaching experience is a safer bet; 2.) coaching college basketball is much different than coaching in the NBA.

Athletic Director Robert Vowels is expected to make a decision this week.

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2 Responses to Why Alexander Should be the Next Head Coach at Detroit Mercy

  1. Don Seeko says:

    Very well written and thought out analysis Tim. I can’t argue with any of it and it is always good for a school like UDM to embrace a former player. I would though just add some rumblings of mine without any favor towards any candidate.

    My concern with JJ is his lack of experience at the HS and College level. Also, he was fired from Mount Clemens HS regarding fudging student records, and resigned from the Macomb County Ethics Board (appointed by Macomb County Exec Mark Hackel) following the dismissal. Bishop Foley HS also filed a complaint against him regarding discrepancies in Rosters. Roster that were submitted did not match players on the court. I am not sure he would have the confidence or support from other HS coaches.

    Stan Heath has been mentioned. NO WAY. He is a has-been in my book. . His last gig as Head Coach at South Florida resulted in a 37-89 Conference Record; and his gig before that was Head Coach at Arkansas with a 31-49 Conference Record. Heath has been applying at every opening including GB last year and Milwaukee this year.

    As I try to connect the dots, I will go out on a limb and put my money on Vince Taylor as the new Titan Head Coach. Taylor is an Asst at Texas Tech, as he has followed Coach Tubby Smith around for a while. Tubby Smith just got the Memphis job, so Taylor will follow him there according to reports. Vince Taylor is a friend of our AD Vowels and he did interview for the job. They went to school together at Duke. Taylor played bball while Vowels played football. Taylor was drafted by the Knicks for one year in 1982. He then played internationally for many years. Since 1997 he has been a College Asst at Pitt, Wyoming, Louisville, Minnesota and Texas Tech. He also spent one season as a Pro Asst for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    Just a Titan Fan Rumbling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tim says:

      Thanks Don. You bring up a great and very important point about JJ. Integrity is very important because if the coach does not practice it, then that trickles down to the players and affects the whole program. I hope they asked him about those incidents during the interview.

      I think Stan Heath’s stock as a head coach has been falling like an anvil. He needs to spend a couple years as an assistant at a power conference team, and then start looking into some head coaching jobs again.

      I did not know anything about Taylor before these interviews. That is an interesting link between Taylor and Vowels.


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