Head Coach and Athletic Director Richie Alfred, center, uses his court board to draw strategies for the team in a time out at the Area Championship here. Lions win that by over 15 points.

Legendary coach retires after staying for seniors this year

Head Coach and Athletic Director Richie Alfred, center, uses his court board to draw strategies for the team in a time out at the Area Championship here. Lions win that by over 15 points.

Legendary coach, Coach and Head Athletic Director Richie Alfred, is teaching his players about the game of basketball, life, and the Lord for 37 years. Alfred is retiring this year, and he is ending his career here with his 600th plus win.

Coach Alfred has a strong passion for basketball, and has been teaching varsity players for longer than most of us have even lived.

Alfred has a decorated career with over 600 wins, 17 playoff appearances, and has been named coach of the year 12 times. He will go down as one of the best coaches in Grace Prep history.

Coach Richie Alfred, center, stands with his wife, daughters, family and past player Alumn Elbert Lawrence.

With all of these accolades, some moments stand out more than others.

Alfred says, “the countless wins on nights people thought we couldn’t win was always great memories.”

Coach Alfred was planning on not returning this past year but he decided to stay, because he felt like he owed it to his seniors.

“After the state championship [win last year], I strongly considered stepping down…but I just didn’t feel right walking out on these seniors’ last year,” said Alfred.

Seniors Brandon Lawrence and DJ Jones have played with Coach Alfred all four years of high school, and Senior Parker Willis began here in the middle of his Sophomore year.

Brandon Lawrence taking on Corem Deo’s defenders one by one. His favorite memory playing was making the 3-point shot in overtime at the State Championship Junior year. “Coach taught me everything since my freshman year,” said Lawrence. “He taught me not to overthink, just play my game and take everything seriously.” (Photo by Naamah McGee)

Lawrence said, “I was excited when he said he was coming back, he has been my coach since freshman year and I was happy to finish my last year with him.”

Jones agreed that playing for Coach Alfred was an honor.

“I was very excited when I heard he was staying, he is a great guy and coach and am glad to play for him another year,” said Jones.

It just seems right for the seniors to graduate and Coach Alfred to retire the same year. This group will end as champions after earning the state semi-finals their sophomore year, the State TAPPS 4A Championship their junior year, and end up in the Regionals senior year with an undefeated District and Area title.

5′ 9″ Senior DJ Jones making a layup. “Coach taught me to keep pushing, don’t overthink things, and control only the things I can and if I can’t then don’t worry about it,” said Jones. (Photo by Naamah McGee)

Not every moment with Coach Alfred is about the game. He is known to have a great sense of humor, love for the Lord, and offers pretty good advice on and off the court.

“I apply life lessons Coach Alfred taught me all the time,” said Payton Picou, GPA Alumn who played for him 2013-15. “He will always be an important coach and person in my life.”

When Coach Alfred came here from Mansfield ISD in 2013, he completely turned our team around from losing to winning in just one season. Picou remembers that time.

“I played for Coach Alfred his first year here, and I was glad he came,” said Picou.

So what have the players taught Coach Alfred?

Alfred says, “his players have taught him to lighten up and have some fun.”

The lions finished the season this year in the second round of the playoffs losing to Corem deo. This is the end of some things, but also a new beginning for both Alfred and the seniors as they head off to try new things.

Maybe stand-up comedy for coach?

“No!” said his daughter laughing, and answering for him at his retirement ceremony in February. “Please do not put ideas in his head,” she laughs.

Lion Nation thanks Coach Alfred for all the lessons, laughs and great moments when we thought we wouldn’t win, yet did.

For more in-depth on this interview, please click on the video below.

Holden Rodgers, Reporter interviews the seniors and Coach Alfred.
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