Lincoln High School Boys Varsity Coach Neil Alexander has been selected as one of six finalists for National Coach of Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. Coach Alexander is currently ranked 4th all-time in Illinois Boys Basketball victories with 822 – just behind legendary Peoria Manual Coach Dick Van Syoc who retired with 826 wins.
Neil is the all-time leading winner in Railsplitter history with 665 victories and counting. He has led the boys team to 16 regional and 5 sectional titles along with 4 trips to state which includes a 2nd place finish in 2014.
Known as one of the best defensive coaches in the state, Neil is part of the 1-2-2 ball press coaching tree that began with Collinsville Coach Vergil Fletcher who coached Hillsboro’s Harlan Scheibal, who passed it along to assistant coach Loren Wallace, who coached Neil at Nokomis High School. Incidentally, former teammate Steve Kimbro, whose Redskins just played the Railsplitters last week and also has 800+ career victories, also implements the 1-2-2. Coach Kimbro was also a finalist for the NHSACA award in 2015.
Past finalists from Illinois include: Tom Wierzba, Farmington Boys, (2009), Evan Massey, Galesburg Girls (2009), Steve Kimbro, Nokomis Boys (2015), Mike Flaherty, Chicago Mt. Carmel Boys (2016), and Dennis Rueter, Waterloo Gibault Boys (2017).
Selected as NHSACA Coach of the Year were: Ernie Kivisto, East Aurora Boys, (1979), Darril Kipp, Maine West Girls, (2001), Dick Corn, Pinckneyville Boys, (2005), John Gross, Peoria Richwoods Girls Coach, (2007), Gene Pingatore, Westchester St. Joseph Boys Coach (2009),and Lori Blade, Edwardsville HS Girls, (2017).
The NHSACA national convention will be held June 22-27 in Bismarck, North Dakota. Good luck to Coach Alexander!