To be a coach of a sport at any level requires a great degree of dedication, intelligence, patience and passion of the game. Newly-hired assistant basketball coach Alex Pribble, 26, possesses all those qualities and is ready to help the Gators improve on last year’s success.
He started playing basketball in second grade and instantly felt an attraction to the technical aspect of the sport.
“As a youngster, I always wanted to be a coach,” Pribble said. “I had an enjoyment for the game and treasured the X’s and O’s side of things and treasured the relationships that are built from the basketball court.”
In eighth grade, Pribble began coaching younger children while participating in the Pirate Basketball Camp, a summer program in his hometown of Marin.
“That’s where I started learning about the game and what it takes to be a coach,” Pribble said.
SF State men’s basketball coach Paul Trevor was also involved in the same program and coached the fourth-grade Pribble.
Trevor remembers the passion and intensity with which Pribble played basketball, even as a young player.
The coach remembers one occasion when the fourth-grade Pribble launched his outstretched body to try to avoid the ball from exiting the court while maintaining possession for his team.
Pribble’s personality and intensity carried over to his collegiate career at UC Berkeley. There he played in 76 games throughout four seasons and was considered to be a player-coach on the court by the Cal coaching staff.
“As a player at Cal the coaches really looked at me as a coach on the floor,” Pribble said. “Although I wasn’t athletic enough to sometimes do it, I understood what they wanted, so I tried to be a coach on the floor and tried to be a leader.”
Pribble’s coaching philosophy has been influenced by his playing experience at Cal and his head coaching experience at the high school level. He was at the helm for the Tamalpais High School basketball team from 2008 to the spring of 2011.
Pribble had success with the Red Tail Hawks in the 2009-10 season, earning a spot in the North Coast Section play-offs after a 30-win year.
“I think my experience as a player has shaped my views as a coach,” Pribble said. “When I’m thinking about coaching the players I try to put myself in their position, and I think about how I would’ve liked to be coached as a player.”
Senior guard Chad Delaney appreciates Pribble’s experience as a head coach in high school.
“Coach Pribble having some experience being head coach—it’s basically like having two head coaches,” Delaney said. “If Coach (Trevor) wasn’t around, Coach (Pribble) has all the capabilities of running the team.”
Pribble’s affinity with Trevor and their similar coaching styles will benefit the Gators this season as they try to improve on last year’s 16-11 record and playoff appearance.
“He and I are two branches off the same tree so to speak. We both have very similar values on and off the court,” Pribble said. “I think that helps bring the culture of this program together.”
Trevor was worried SF State would be unable to hire the 26-year-old assistant coach. He was unsure Pribble would want to take a salary cut and give up the role of head coach at Tamalpais.
“He’s always had a passion, he’s always had the ability to do more with less,” Trevor said. “He’s not the most gifted athlete but (he is) probably the hardest worker; always driven, just pursuing to be great. Why wouldn’t you want to surround yourself with people like that?”