Cy Alexander was named as the Tennessee State University men's basketball head coach on April 1, 2003. Alexander came to TSU to rebuild a tradition-rich Tiger program after serving as head coach at South Carolina State for 16 seasons.
The TSU coach knows what it takes to build a successful program. He led the South Carolina State team to five appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including four trips to the tournament in eight years.
This season he led Tennessee State to its first OVC Championship game appearance since 1998.
Alexander took over the South Carolina State reigns in 1987, inheriting a program that had suffered nine straight losing seasons and built it into one of the winningest in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and in South Carolina. He compiled an overall record of 277-202 overall and 191-79 MEAC record. Alexander led the Bulldogs to five MEAC tournament titles, and the team finished first or second in the MEAC every year but one since the 1991 season.
In the 2002-03 season, the Bulldogs were 20-11 overall and 15-3 in the MEAC regular season. Alexander was named MEAC Coach of the Year for the third time, and the Bulldogs played top seed Oklahoma in the opening round of the NCAA East Region Tournament.
A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., Alexander was an assistant coach at Howard University in Washington, D.C., for 11 years under A.B. Williamson before moving to S.C. State. He quickly made an impact at the Bulldogs’ helm, leading the team to a winning 16-13 mark in his inaugural season.
In his second season, Alexander led the Bulldogs to a 25-8 record, the most wins in school history. S.C. State won the MEAC regular season title and its first MEAC Tournament title, earning the school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament, where the Bulldogs faced Duke in the East Regionals.
Before Alexander arrived in Orangeburg, the school had captured just one MEAC regular season title and had reached only one MEAC tournament final, that coming in 1980 when S.C. State fell to Howard. Under Alexander’s direction, S.C. State advanced to the MEAC tournament finals seven times, winning five crowns.
South Carolina State was named American Sports Wire Black College National Champions three times under Alexander’s guidance. His teams received the prestigious recognition in 1996, 1998, and 2000.
Alexander quickly established himself as one of the most highly respected young coaches in the country. During the historical 1988-89 season, his team gained recognition by winning the San Juan Shootout against a field that included Big East power Villanova, ranked 11th nationally at the time.
Among his honors in addition to the MEAC Conference Coach of the Year awards is being named Palmetto State Coach of the Year by the Greenville Basketball Club.
He has also been named to the Catawba and S.C. State Hall of Fames. In 1996, he was named American Sports Wire National Coach of the Year.
Alexander is a member of the Black Coaches Association, and the National Association of Basketball Coaches, serving on the Recruiting Committee. He also serves on the NCAA Basketball Tournament East Regional Advisory Committee, and is a member of several organizations, including Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity.
Alexander was recently named to the NCAA Division I Academic Enhancement group.
Alexander holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Catawba College and earned a master’s degree in education from Howard University.
Cy Alexander is married to Cecelia Perry of Raleigh, N.C., and they are the parents of a daughter, Joi, who resides in Washington, D.C.