U of L legends tapped to re-launch Simmons College basketball pr - WDRB 41 Louisville News

U of L legends tapped to re-launch Simmons College basketball program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A pair of Louisville basketball legends have signed on to coach at a small school that nearly closed.

Simmons College Kentucky hopes to use athletics to drive more degrees into Louisville's troubled West End.

D'Angelo Hunter and Lamontray Harris graduated from PRP High School in 2014

"I really can't go a day without playing basketball," Hunter said.

And like many young athletes, Harris sees the sport as a means of escape.

"I feel basketball just takes my mind away from everything else," he said.

Both graduates want their careers on the court to continue.

Simmons College of Kentucky is looking for these community center all-stars. The school hired Jerry Eaves, a U of L alum and former NBA player and assistant coach -- to relaunch its men's basketball team next year.

Eaves played in the NBA for the Utah Jazz, the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings, and was an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He also led a number of college programs, including North Carolina A&T.

"Get your tickets early," Eaves said. "Have warm popcorn, because I'm telling you, you will not be able to leave your seats. Halftime will be the only time. I thought about it as a pro coach. I thought about it at North Carolina A&T. I just didn't implement it. I just didn't have the gall to change the game. But I'm going to revolutionize basketball."

Butch Beard, a U of L alum and former NBA coach with the New Jersey Nets will lead the women's program in 2016.

"We are reactivating a basketball tradition that dates back over 100 years," said Pastor Kevin Cosby, president of Simmons College of Kentucky.

Simmons cut athletics in 2011 after nearly going bankrupt, but the school is rebounding and committed to paying forward its second chance, and not just on the court.

"We're going to make sure we are graduating our males," Eaves said. "We're going to reach out to our corporate sponsors and make sure we're getting them the jobs and internships that they need to flourish."

The Falcons will play at St. Stephen Church, part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).

"I know quite a few players that could use that chance," Harris said.

Harris and Hunter say they have other plans for their future. Harris says he just signed with Morehead State. Hunter hopes to score overseas. Whatever the outcome, at least they know they have one more way to win at home.

Eaves will also serves as Simmons' athletic director.

He says he hopes to bring lacrosse, soccer and 14 other sports programs to the school in the next 10 years.

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