By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. – Newly minted Tennessee Tech men's basketball head coach John Pelphrey announced the first additions to his staff with the hiring of Alex Fain as an assistant coach and Blake Gray as the director of basketball operations.
Fain joins the Golden Eagle coaching staff after spending each of the past five seasons at the University of Alabama, including the previous two as the team's scouting and recruiting coordinator. He also served as the Crimson Tide's video coordinator for three seasons.
"I've had a relationship with Coach Pel for the last three years at Alabama," Fain said. "He embodies everything that an aspiring coach as myself, or even the student-athletes, would look at in terms of leadership and representation of a university. It was a no-brainer deciding to come work for Coach Pelphrey because of the qualities he embodies as a leader, his care for the student-athletes and his staff members, and the time and effort he puts into developing relationships with people. I'm excited to partner up with him and see what we can do here at Tennessee Tech."
During his time in Tuscaloosa, Fain assisted the coaching staff with both opponent and self-scouting in helping the team and staff prepare for upcoming opponents. He also worked with practice plans and recruiting presentations, while creating individual player edits.
"Alex has a great young mind for the game of basketball," Pelphrey explained. "He has been around three different coaches now, working with Tom Crean at Indiana, Anthony Grant and obviously with Avery Johnson, so he's seen a lot of different ways to run a basketball program. I think he'll bring a unique perspective.
"He was heavily in charge of developing scouting and game plans at Alabama. He has a really good report with the players and he'll have a good relationship with those guys. He's very motivated and has a passion for the game. You want to be around really good people and Alex, Turner (his wife) and their son Fitz are going to be great additions to our basketball staff, our basketball team and this community."
Also joining the joining the Golden Eagle staff from the University of Alabama, Gray brings two seasons of experience as the Crimson Tide director of player development to Cookeville. He was responsible for the monitoring and coordination of the student-athletes' complete schedules, both on and off the court and assisted the coaching staff in game preparation, video evaluation and player development edits, the formulation of game plans and scouting reports and other duties.
"I've worked with Coach Pel the last three years and learned a lot under him," Gray said. "I'm really blessed to have the opportunity to come here, join his staff and ultimately help our student-athletes excel on and off the floor, as well as represent our University."
Prior to becoming Alabama's director of player development, Gray spent two seasons with the team as a graduate manager, playing a role in film breakdown, opponent scouting, overseeing managers, recruiting mail outs and other duties as assigned by the coaching staff.
"Blake also has a really good basketball mind," Pelprey said. "He has been in charge of scouting, as well as player development. He has a good way of developing relationships with the players, which will be very beneficial for us. Over the last three years, both he and Alex really gained an understanding of who I am, what I value and what is going to be important to me, both in recruiting and the type of players we want, as well as the way we want to go about playing, executing and getting better. I have complete trust and confidence in Blake and Alex."