Flashes fill hoops vacancy with 25-year-old McBrayer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 20, 2004

[7/20/04]The St. Aloysius Flashes figure to have a lot in common with their new coach next season. Both are young and a little inexperienced, but have a lot of enthusiasm.

The school has hired Drew McBrayer, a 25-year-old New Hope native with no previous head coaching experience, as its new boys and girls basketball coach.

McBrayer signed a contract with St. Al on Monday and will also coach cross country. The previous coach, Paul Hayden, left St. Al in June to take an assistant coach’s position at Pearl High School.

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“I really liked the challenge of putting in a new system somewhere and seeing how it works,” McBrayer said. “I’m really thankful to them for giving me the opportunity.”

McBrayer played junior college basketball and golf at East Mississippi Community College from 1997-99, and was the captain of the basketball team in his sophomore year.

He was a volunteer assistant basketball coach at New Hope, his alma mater, for three of the last four seasons, and also served as head coach of the junior varsity team.

McBrayer earned his teaching degree from Mississippi State in May and learned of the opening at St. Al from Warren Central baseball assistant coach Jeff Wood, a longtime friend.

“He definitely swayed me a lot about moving down here,” McBrayer said.

And McBrayer swayed the St. Al administration. Despite McBrayer’s lack of experience, St. Al prinicipal Peter Pikul said his knowledge of the game made him a strong candidate.

“Drew has a good basketball background. He played in junior college and has coached high school for several years,” Pikul said. “I think he’ll be very good for the program and help to keep St. Al basketball strong.”

McBrayer said he plans to use a controlled, up-tempo offense for both the boys and girls teams and emphasize defense. He’ll be teaching the new system to a pair of young teams that are in various stages of rebuilding.

The Flashes were 10-16 last season, but lost five starters and have only four upperclassmen returning. The Lady Flashes were 11-15 in 2002-03, but lost starting point guard Laura Beth Lyons to graduation and will have three sophomore starters this year.

Both the Flashes and Lady Flashes lost in the first round of the Region 7-1A tournament last season.

“Young is fine. Either way, I’m going to have to teach them something new,” McBrayer said. “It’s going to be a work in progress. I just hope people are patient with me for a while. We’re going to get things worked out together.”