INDIANAPOLIS — From Reno, Nevada, Kory Alford is preparing for a 30-hour drive this weekend to Huntington University, where he is set to make his head coaching debut at age 28.
Alford was hired April 14 to become the head men’s basketball coach at Huntington, a NAIA school with about 1,400 students.
Alford said the success he found over his last ten years at the Division I level has prepared him for his next chapter at a smaller school.
Alford went to four NCAA Tournaments as a player, competing for the University of New Mexico and UCLA. Then, he coached across the Pacific-12 and Mountain West Conferences.
“The small school level had always been enticing to me. I felt like I could get that opportunity at such a young age,” Alford told FOX59’s JoJo Gentry. “It’s guys who want to be there four years. It’s a little bit different than what I’ve been dealing with these last few.”
Located just outside Fort Wayne, Huntington sits about 20 miles southeast of Manchester University, where Kory’s father, Steve Alford, secured his first head coaching job in 1991.
A native of Franklin, Steve starred at New Castle High School before becoming a two-time All-American at Indiana University while playing for Bob Knight from 1983 to 1987.
“I could not be more proud of him. He’s worked very hard, has studied the game completely and has a great feel to leading young men,” Steve told FOX59.
Kory most recently served as the director of player development at the University of Nevada, where Steve is currently the head men’s basketball coach. Kory is excited to follow his father’s foot steps while paving his own way.
“To be able to start down the road from where he started, it’s great to get back to that area where we do have a lot of close family ties,” said Kory.
Kory said he accepted Huntington’s offer without seeing campus. He visited Huntington for the first time earlier this month.
“It was great to finally step on campus, step in the gym, make a shot in the gym,” he said. “Things like that I had been looking forward to.”
Kory and Huntington announced five newcomers to the men’s basketball program Tuesday, totaling 15 players on the Foresters’ roster.
“We definitely have the tools to compete in the Crossroads League. It’s obviously highly competitive,” Kory said. “It’s not going to be easy and happen overnight. I think there’s definitely pieces there we can build with and be able to compete from day one.”
Kory said members of his coaching staff will be announced in a few weeks.