April 21, 2011 9:08:00 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
Sammy Smith knows a great hire when he hears about one.
When he learned Tuesday night that Northeast Mississippi Community College planned today to name Brian Alexander its new women''s basketball coach, Smith couldn''t help but smile.
After all, Smith was Alexander''s physical education teacher in elementary school years ago in New Albany. Alexander later served as an assistant coach on Smith''s staff at Columbus High School from 1996-98.
Alexander has had plenty of stops along the way, but Smith has remained in contact and has watched his former assistant gain valuable experience.
That journey will take another step at 2 p.m. today when NEMCC introduces Alexander as a press conference in Booneville.
"He is a great guy," Smith said. "They couldn''t have chosen a better person for the job."
Alexander, 34, who is from New Albany, served as coach of the World Basketball Association Exposure League''s Tupelo Rock-N-Rollers in 2009. The team came to Columbus High and played a game in town that season.
Alexander also has served as an assistant men''s and women''s basketball coach at Itawamba C.C. He has worked before at NEMCC and has spent time as coach at Southern Mississippi, Southeastern Louisiana, and Campbell University.
Alexander declined to comment about the position Wednesday morning. He recently completed work on his Ph. D in community college leadership at Mississippi State.
Smith said Alexander is deserving of the job because he has paid his dues and he did a "great job" as an assistant coach at ICC. He knows Alexander will do the same work at NEMCC.
"Everywhere he has been everything has turned to gold," Smith said.
Alexander will replace Ricky Ford, who stepped down as coach in March. Ford, who also is the school''s athletic director, had a 588-226 record in 30 seasons at the school. He was appointed Dean of Student Services at the beginning of the 2011 spring semester.
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.