Brookhaven Academy picks Ray to coach boys

Published 9:00 pm Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kyle Ray has been coaching international basketball teams for several years. He has elected to return home to Mississippi and coach the Brookhaven Academy boys basketball program.

Ray, 44, a Jackson native, comes to Lincoln County from South Africa. He has played and coached on basketball teams in Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Philippines, Kenya, Malawi, Cuba, Ukraine and South Africa.

He is a 1986 graduate of Woodland Hills Baptist Academy in Jackson, where he was named to the All-Star Team. He played two years of college basketball and tennis at Milligan College in Johnson City, Tenn. He transferred to Mississippi State University and graduated with a B.S. in Fitness Management and a Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology.

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Ray replaces Dale Watts who left BA after 19 years and seven state championships to take a similar position at Columbia Academy, his alma mater.

“I am super excited about returning to the state of Mississippi, to my roots,” said Ray. “I am really looking forward to being part of such a great basketball tradition that Brookhaven Academy has had for many years. I know that I am filling some big shoes in Coach Watts, whose record really speaks for itself.

“I am looking forward to bringing some of my international (FIBA) experience as a coach to these young men at BA,” Ray noted. “My style of offense will obviously depend upon the personnel that I am given, but you can be sure that we will be up-tempo and creative offensively and defensively.

“I want the kids to have fun, and what is more fun than winning games? Our players are going to work extremely hard and will hopefully not lose from lack of effort.”

Ray and his wife have three children, age 2, 7 and 10.

“My family and I are looking forward to being part of the Brookhaven community as well,” said Ray. “I really am chomping at the bit to get to know the players and get this new era started this summer”.

Ray said he plans to be in Brookhaven by June 1.

“We are extremely excited about having Coach Ray join the BA family,” said BA athletic director Tripp McCarty. During this coaching search we were looking for the perfect fit to fill this position, and we believe that we have done so in the hiring of Coach Ray.

“He and his family will be a blessing to Brookhaven Academy and the surrounding communities.”

McCarty said Ray was highly qualified. “He has quite a unique resume with very extensive basketball playing and coaching experience but more importantly a burning desire of spiritual and physical player development.”

Ray has 20 years coaching experience in basketball and tennis; 10 years in an international context. He also has 9 years management experience in health and physical fitness facilities.

-10 years basketball and general athletic development work in Malawi and South Africa

-9 years management experience in health and fitness facilities

He coached the African Bible College Lions to a Malawi National Championship in 1994-95.

He was selected to coach the “Chicago Ambassadors” against the Cuban Olympic Team for a week of exhibition games in Santiago, Cuba in 1995.

He also coached 7th and 8th grade girls at Menlo School in Menlo Park, CA to an undefeated season and league championship in 2001-2002.

He was a player/coach for the Sports Ambassadors teams in Guatemala and Costa Rica in 1996-97 for a combined record of 21-6. He coached the African Bible College men’s team to a National Championship in Malawi in 2001 with a record of 30-1. The record from 1999-2001 was 60 wins and 6 losses.

In South Africa, Ray coached the Paarl School of Skills boys high school team to an undefeated season and WBL League Championship in 2010.