Coach a key part of LHS program
Published 2:59 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
Scotty Alexander is his right-hand man.
When Mark Veal took over as LaGrange High’s head coach before the 2015-2016 season, he was grateful to have Alexander beside him on the bench.
Alexander has been coaching at LaGrange for more than a decade, and for much of that time he and Veal were assistants on a staff led by Mike Pauley.
When Pauley stepped down to become LaGrange’s athletics director, Veal was promoted to the top spot, and Alexander remained on the staff to help him out.
“I told coach Scotty, he’s got a calming effect for me when he walks in the gym,” said Veal, who is leading the Blue Star Basketball Camp this week in the Mike Daniel Recreation Center.
Veal added that Alexander “has definitely helped me become a better coach. He has been so valuable to me, more than words can express.”
Alexander, who is a supervisor at Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services, is helping out at the Blue Star camp that began on Monday and goes through Wednesday.
At the close of Tuesday’s camp session, Alexander shared a few thoughts with the campers.
He touched on his background growing up in Mississippi, as well as what he believes it takes to succeed on the basketball court, and in life.
“I wanted to get better, I wanted to play at the next level, I wanted to get a scholarship,” Alexander said. “I did something every day to help me with basketball. Sometimes it was playing, sometimes it was going for a run. I had to work on my endurance, my conditioning to make me better. I did everything I could think to do to make me a better player. I didn’t want to leave anything to chance. You should want to be that same way in life as well. Anything you want to do, you can accomplish.”
Alexander added that “whatever you do, make sure you’re the best at it, make sure there’s nobody working harder than you. Don’t leave it to chance. If you take a break, somebody will get ahead of you.”
Alexander began coaching at LaGrange during the 2006-2007 season, and he and Veal became close while working together. Alexander, who said he and Veal are “like brothers,” was happy to remain on the staff following Pauley’s departure.
During games, Alexander said “my role to him is to make sure he stays level. I’m watching a lot of things that he’s not watching, and helping with the officials’ calls. That’s more my role to him.”
Beyond basketball, Alexander appreciates the dedication Veal shows to the players he leads.
“He has a lot of passion, and a lot of compassion for the kids,” Veal said. “He’s dedicated his life to any player who comes through LaGrange High School, and that’s on and off the court.”
This week is a change of pace for Alexander, who enjoys working with the young players during the Blue Star camp.
“You’re working with youth that have a desire for basketball,” Alexander said. “You take a break from what we do at the high school all summer long to come and do something fun with a bunch of kids willing to learn. It’s a good opportunity.”