Huntington University announced the hiring of Kory Alford as the new Forester men’s basketball coach.
Alford is taking over the program from former coach Ty Platt who retired in March after 12 years with the university.
“I’m extremely honored and blessed to be here,” said Alford during Tuesday morning’s press conference. “God has blessed me throughout my entire career, and I just feel called to be here at Huntington. I am cherishing this opportunity. I’m extremely excited to get going.”
Alford currently serves as the director of player development for the Nevada Wolf Pack (University of Nevada, Reno). Prior to that position, he held various roles for the basketball team at his alma mater, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
According to Lori Culler, Athletic Director at Huntington University, Alford’s experience as an athlete and a coach for NCAA Division I programs gives him key insights into team dynamics and operations. While on the coaching staff at University of Nevada, Alford focused on scouting and was the key coordinator of the international recruiting strategy that led to nearly a dozen commitments in one year.
“It is my distinct pleasure to announce Kory Alford as our next head men’s basketball coach,” said Culler. “We are thrilled to have Kory join our coaching staff and HU community. Basketball has always been an important part of Kory’s life, and his wealth of experiences at the Division I level have prepared him for this opportunity...We are excited about the future of our men’s basketball program with Kory at the helm.”
Alford spent four seasons on staff at UCLA as the video analytics coordinator after playing two seasons for the Bruins and two seasons at New Mexico. Alford’s immersion in high-level basketball programs makes him an ideal fit to lead at HU, according to school officials.
“His abilities in recruiting, film and statistical analysis and building relationships with players will serve him well in the highly competitive Crossroads League,” HU stated.
As the country deals with the impacts of the COVID-19 epidemic, the hiring process and recruiting of new players has taken on a different look than normal.
“It was a long process and not a very traditional search process, and they did a fantastic job through it all,” Alford said. “I think the hard part is connecting with the players and building that trust because that’s got to be my goal from day one. I’ve got to kind of re-recruit them and talk to their families and get to know them as well as I can.”
Alford says recruiting has “hit a lull” since potential players are unable to make official visits due to closures from the virus epidemic. With scouting taking a hit, Alford says he plans to have an adaptable coaching style.
“At the core it will be a lot of motion principles because it’s very hard to scout, and I think it really teaches kids how to play basketball,” Alford said. “It’s going to be a lot of that from the start and it will be adaptable moving forward.”
Once they hit their stride, Alford says he plans to use an up-tempo style, adding he likes to “play fast.”
He also plans to utilize data to the team’s advantage.
“I’m a very data-driven person, and so we’re going to have a very data-driven program,” Alford said. “Shot selection is going to be key. We want threes and layups, and we are going to drill that from day one, very analytically-based. We just want guys to play hard that compete on both ends of the court. We do want to play fast, we want a fun style to play in, we want to have a fun style for fans to watch.”
As a player, Alford helped four teams reach the NCAA Tournament, which included the 2014 and 2015 squads advancing to the Sweet 16. During his prep career at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he was part of two state championship teams.
Between his time at UCLA and New Mexico, Alford’s teams won three conference tournament titles and two conference regular-season crowns.
One alumni of Forester Athletics shared his excitement to see Alford take charge of the men’s basketball team.
“I couldn’t be more excited to have Kory as the next head men’s basketball coach at Huntington University,” said Jeff Shepherd, class of 1999 and four-year member of the Forester basketball team. “Kory rose to the top of a tremendous candidate pool and is ready to lead the men’s basketball program on and off the court.”
Alford, son and grandson of Indiana basketball legends Steve and Sam Alford, earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology from UCLA in 2015 and a master’s degree from the University of San Francisco in 2017. Alford says he and his wife, Haley, look forward to being back home again in Indiana.
“I would like to thank Dr. Emberton, Lori Culler, Russ Degitz and the entire committee for entrusting me to become the next head men’s basketball coach at Huntington University,” Alford said. “This has been a dream of mine for my entire career. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a head coach. To be able to do so at a Christ-centered university like Huntington, to be able to have my personal and professional goals align at one place is extremely exciting for me.”