Alexander spent this past season as offensive line coach at East Tennessee State. He was back at Cumberland in 2016 as offensive coordinator under Donnie Suber. He had been assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Tech from 2013 until longtime coach Watson Brown retired following the ’15 campaign. Alexander was named acting coach until Marcus Satterfield was hired.
The Hendersonville native has many Wilson County connections from his time at Tech as a player in the early 1980s. He was a teammate of Mt. Juliet native Barry Wilmore, who went on to serve as a space shuttle pilot for NASA. Several coaches now working here were either teammates or played for him during earlier stints on the Golden Eagle staff.
But his biggest influence on Wilson County came during the decade when he spent three seasons (2003-05) at Wilson Central, followed by seven at Cumberland.
Central had lost its first 20 games under two coaches when Alexander came aboard in the summer of ’03. Four more losses followed before the Wildcats knocked off unbeaten Coffee County for their inaugural victory. Central was in the playoffs the next year and reached the second round with 10 wins his third season, giving him a three-year mark of 19-14.
Meanwhile, Cumberland football had fallen into some disarray. Then-school president Harvill Eaton and athletic director Pat Lawson brought him to Cumberland Square, where the Bulldogs had won just two games the previous season and none the year before that. In one of the most exciting games since the school restored the sport in 1990, the Bulldogs knocked off Lambuth in the muck of Lindsey Donnell Stadium in the 2008 finale to earn a share of the Mid-South Conference championship.
While at Cumberland, he was named the American Football Coaches Association's NAIA Region 1 Coach of the Year (2010) and the Tennessee Sports Writers Association's Coach of the Year (2011). That same season, CU ranked 14th nationally, its highest mark in 13 seasons. Between the span of 2010 and 2012, the Bulldogs went 23-9, the best stretch in the program's then-76-year history and the best for any college team in Tennessee as twice they missed the NAIA playoffs by one game. During that time, the team was ranked three straight years in the NAIA top 25 for the first time. He went 41-33 during his seven seasons
In 2012, Cumberland led the nation with 16 NAIA Daktronics Scholar Athletes (with a 3.5 grade point average or better) and led the MSC with 31 conference scholar-athletes (3.25 GPA or better).
During his tenure at Cumberland, he recruited 44 first-team all-conference players, three first-team all-Americans, five national players of the week and the 2012 MSC Offensive Player of the Year in Lemeco Miller.
His decade in Wilson County, as well as two other high school head coaching stops and two other assistantships, will serve as part of his experience as he begins rebuilding the Golden Eagles, who went 1-10 under Satterfield this past fall and 6-16 during his two seasons..
”When I took over at Cumberland, the program was going through some adversity,” Alexander said at his introductory press conference. “I was their third head coach in four years and they had some struggles. I know what that looks like to rebuild football programs – I did it at Wilson Central High School as the head coach and I was able to do it at Cumberland University and get the program going in the right direction.”
Reaction to Alexander’s return to Tech was swift and positive, including from a prominent alumnus who will receive the NCAA’s prestigious Theodore Roosevelt Award next month.
"If I were choosing a football coach for 'MY' university, I'd want someone who first and foremost loved Tech football and loved the men for whom he'd coach," Wilmore said. "Then I'd want someone with proven character and a disciplined and ethical approach to molding men first and athletes a very close second.
"So, with those thoughts in mind and without a moment's hesitation, it would be Dewayne Alexander who I would select. I'm thrilled to have him back on the Tech team and am excited about the events to come."
Thomas Corhern of Tennessee Tech sports information contributed to this report.