Beyond the Backboard

Beyond the Backboard

Cyrus Walker Alexander III


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Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have a special niche in the world of big-time college basketball. As late entrants into this world, they fight an uphill battle for on- and off-court relevance, a battle steeped in the historical intersection of sports, race, and culture in this country. Competing on the court in the elite world of America's NCAA Division I college basketball is a daunting task. Competing off the court with the more well-heeled, legacy institutions for funds, top recruits, TV time, and ultimately relevance is decidedly more difficult. Beyond the Backboard: My Unique HBCU Experience in the Shadows of Big-Time College Basketball explores how author Cy Alexander navigated the deep waters of and found success in this environment during a thirty-seven-year career as a Division I HBCU basketball coach, twenty-six of those years as a head coach. Along the way, Alexander learned from and matched wits with coaching luminaries, was a key participant on prestigious NCAA and NABC committees, became a member of an exclusive club of Nike clients that included Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley among others, and landed before movers and shakers in politics and trendsetters in entertainment. Beyond the Backboard highlights an exciting career filled with slights, embarrassing defeats, signature victories, personal triumphs and tragedies, and a ton of lessons learned.