UDM’s Bacari Alexander suspended; school mum on reason

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Second-year Detroit Mercy men’s basketball coach Bacari Alexander has been suspended by the university for multiple games for what university officials are terming a “personnel” matter.

No other details were immediately available.

Alexander did not coach the team’s last home game, a win against Michigan-Dearborn on Nov. 13, and did not travel with the team for Saturday and Sunday games at Belmont in Nashville, Tenn., a loss to Seattle and an overtime win over Houston Baptist. When the school issued a statement to be read on air for the Michigan-Dearborn home game, it said the absence would be one game.

The university would not confirm when he will return. The Titans (2-2) play at Saint Louis on Wednesday before returning home to play Siena Heights next Saturday.

Asked by The News for comment Monday, Detroit Mercy issued a 20-word statement that read: “Thank you for your inquiry. Per university official protocol, Detroit Mercy does not provide public comment on internal personnel issues.”

Detroit Mercy is a private institution and does not have to follow open-records requests for personnel information, such as salary or discipline.

Alexander, 41, who spent six years on John Beilein’s staff at Michigan before being hired by Detroit Mercy last year, did not return a message seeking comment. Athletic director Robert Vowels did not return multiple messages seeking comment.

Horizon League officials did not return a message seeking comment. The punishment is believed to have been handed down by the school, not the league.

Jermaine Jackson Sr. coached the Titans in Alexander’s absence.

Vowels told The News earlier this year that this is an important season for the Titans, who were 8-23 in Alexander’s first year. Vowels said he expects at least a .500 season and hopes for much better, given the talent that returns to the roster, including Jaleel Hogan, who worked all summer to become academically eligible, and the addition of Michigan transfer Kam Chatman. Detroit Mercy averaged nearly 18 wins a season in the seven years prior to Alexander’s hiring to the head-coaching job. Alexander replaced fired Ray McCallum Sr.

Detroit Mercy was picked a surprising fourth in the preseason Horizon League poll.

Alexander played at Detroit Mercy from 1997-99 and was an assistant on the Titans’ staff from 2001-07, before moving on to jobs at Ohio, Western Michigan and Michigan.