As a streetwise kid growing up in the 1980s, Bacari Alexander stood out not because of his budding height, but because of his panache. On the first day of school in August, when the lingering summer kept Detroit hot and humid, he'd leave the house in a dress shirt and clip on tie. Notebooks were kept in a briefcase.
His school didn't have a uniform, but Alexander did. Kids would ask, "Bacari, why do you dress like that?" and young Alexander, with a sense of defiance, would reply, "I'm a businessman." He didn't care that his style drew attention in all the places he grew up from Herman Gardens, iphone 5c refurbished a public housing project in the northwest area of Detroit, to all the other places he and his family bounced around to.
Friday's suit was steel blue with a subtle shine and pick stitching. The single breasted jacket was accented with three purple buttons, while a two toned collared shirt accompanied a red, windowpane tie perfectly dimpled by what appeared to be a half Windsor.
Being introduced as the University of Detroit Mercy's head basketball coach and fulfilling a life long dream, Alexander, to the surprise of no one, looked perfectly polished.
There was, though, the unavoidable fact that the former Michigan assistant coach looks like a completely different person.
Since September 2015, Alexander has shed 3 to 4 inches off his waistline, dropping a dramatic amount of weight, and transforming his appearance. Along with his wife, Kesha, and 14 year old son, Mekhi, he cut meat and dairy out of his diet and embarked not on a diet, but on what he calls a complete "lifestyle change."
"We're not strict vegans, but it is more of a vegan based diet," Kesha Alexander explained. "We try not to be too extreme with it, but we stick to it. As you can see, the results are great."
Kesha is slender and has lively dark eyes, soft cheeks and a spirited smile. Looking over at her husband, she repeatedly noted, "He's in his element." Indeed, Friday marked a coronation, of sorts. She was a biochemistry major and he couldn't pronounce half the classes she was attending. Kesha didn't realize Bacari was on the basketball because he opted not to tell her. He instead told her he was a business major.
That was over 15 years ago. After courting and dating and marrying Kesha, Bacari Alexander set off on a college coaching career.iphone 5c refurbished This was fully expected. In his playing days at UDM helping lead the Titans to NCAA Tournament wins over St. John's in 1998 and UCLA in 1999 Alexander loved to yell instructions anytime he was on the bench. Coach Perry Watson, a Detroit legend, would tell him, "Shut up, Bacari. You're not the coach."
Alexander would sideswipe and dig back, "Yeah, well I will be one day." Maybe that's why Watson hired him as an assistant in 2001.
As a young coach, Alexander pledged to Kesha that he'd land a head coaching job by the time he was 40. Then, after a six year stint at UDM, he worked for one year on Tim O'Shea's staff at Ohio and two years for Steve Hawkins at Western Michigan.
Michigan coach John Beilein hired Alexander in 2010. The gig afforded two opportunities: A high major job under a gifted Xs and Os coach and the chance to operate within plain view of UDM.
Six years later, after Ray McCallum's dismissal as Titans head coach on April 1, the time came to return home. Detroit Mercy athletic director Robert Vowels hired Alexander this week because, among potential candidates, "none matched the experience, knowledge and passion for this university that he will bring."
Alexander will turn 40 in September.
Introduced on Friday at Calihan Hall, Alexander took to the podium, adjusted his pocket square, and proceeded to own every moment of a 21 minute opus. He name dropped everyone in the gym. He said he will bring blue collar basketball back to Detroit.
And, of course, that slim fitting suit.iphone 5c refurbished Detroit through and through, Alexander said he recently got it from "my guy" at The City Warehouse over on 9 Mile Greenfield Road in Southfield.
The threads did the job and marked the conclusion of "Project PC."
Back in September 2015, the advent of Bacari and Kesha Alexander's lifestyle change, there was an underlying awareness that Bacari needed to look like a head coach if he wanted to be hired as a head coach. He worried that being "portly and stout" could limit opportunities.
More than anything, the two wanted the best version of Bacari Alexander to take the podium when he finally landed his first head coaching job.
Thus, the Alexander's new lifestyle was deemed "Project PC."
For those closest to Alexander, Friday's introduction and the new man that emerged onto the stage at Calihan amounted to a summation that they knew was coming, but still struck a chord.iphone 5c refurbished
"Seeing this come full circle my brother go from having a dream to having this now" Tomica pointed to the podium where Bacari Alexander just held court, emotions cracking "I'm very proud."
So, too, is Kesha Alexander. The brains behind "Project PC" was left shaking her head and saying, only, "He's worked had for this for many years. He knew exactly what he wanted."