Rob Ehsan, UAB Head Coach
On December 12, 2016, Rob Ehsan visited the Birmingham Tip Off Club in his first year as Head Coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ehsan is no stranger to Birmingham as he takes over the reins following two years as an associate head coach under Jerod Haase. Visitors and members alike enjoyed Coach Ehsan's stories of the rare opportunities that have since shaped his coaching career. At only 34 years old, Ehsan is at the helm of a Division I program; something he says would not have been possible without multiple lucky breaks from some of his greatest coaching inspirations. The Birmingham Tip Off Club is grateful to have kicked off the 2016-17 season with Coach Ehsan as our guest, and we look forward to welcoming him back in the future.
Scott Padgett, Samford University Head Coach
Samford University Head Coach, Scott Padgett, is in his third year at the helm of the Bulldogs' men's basketball team after brief stints at The University of Kentucky and Manhattan College in New York. Following his 2012-13 season as assistant under Coach Seltzer, Padgett made the transition to the head coaching position at Samford. Padgett is a former NBA player who has suited up for the Jazz, Nets, Rockets, and Grizzlies. Coach Padgett played his college career under Coach Pitino at the University of Kentucky from 1994-1999, where he earned All-NCAA Final Four honors in his senior season. Coach Padgett packed the Harbert Center, attracting one of the largest crowds of the 2016-17 Birmingham Tip Off Club season. The Club looks forward to welcoming the Bulldogs' head coach back again next year.
John Brady, Former NCAA Head Coach
John Brady is known for his position as former LSU, Arkansas State, and Samford University Head Coach. Brady attended Belhaven University where he played varsity basketball before getting his master's as a Graduate Assistant at Mississippi State. He began his collegiate coaching career at Mississippi State as an assistant for eight years, then moved on to become Head Coach at Samford University in 1992. Brady moved on to LSU where he led the Tigers to an unlikely NCAA Final Four appearance and a 28-6 in 2000. Later, Brady led the Arkansas State Red Wolves to two Sun Belt Conference titles. After a long and successful career, he chose to retire from coaching. We look forward to welcoming an old friend back to the Birmingham Tip Off Club.
Avery Johnson, University of Alabama Head Coach
The Birmingham Tip Off welcomed Alabama Head Coach Avery Johnson on February 20, 2017. Coach Johnson led the NCAA in assists per game during his senior campaign at Southern University before continuing to Palm Beach where he played with the Stingrays. Johnson's impressive career includes playing point guard for the Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and Denver Nuggets. Johnson is best known for his time with the San Antonio Spurs, where he played for 7 seasons and assisted the Spurs to the 1999 NBA Championship. Johnson went on to coach for multiple NBA programs, including the Dallas Mavericks where he was awarded NBA Coach of the Year in 2006. Johnson became the Head Coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide in April 2015 and recently signed one of the top 2017 recruiting classes. The Tip Off Club looks forward to welcoming back Avery in the near future.
Sean Farnham, ESPN College Basketball Analyst
On February 6, 2017 ESPN Analyst Sean Farnham visited with the Birmingham Tip Off Club. Farnham began his broadcasting career with Fox Sports before co-hosting the afternoon drive show with Chris Myers on Fox Sports Radio. Farnham began at ESPN in 2010 and now covers SEC, Pac-12, and West Coast Conference basketball. While at his alma mater, UCLA, Farnham garnered the Freshman of the Year Award as a part of the 1997 Pac-10 Championship team. In addition to his work, Farnham also recently established a non-profit, Hoops from Home, which provides unique basketball and academic opportunities to service members' children. During his visit to the club, Farnham both recounted his playing days at UCLA as well as his thoughts on current college hoops. Everyone appreciated Sean's quick whit, concern for the well-being of prep players, and perspective on the game as a whole. The Birmingham Tip Off Club looks forward to welcoming him back to Birmingham in the future.
T.R. Dunn, Former Alabama and NBA Standout
T.R. Dunn visited with the Birmingham Tip Off Club on January 30, 2017. Formerly considered one of the best rebounding guards in the league, Dunn led a successful 14-year career in the NBA. T.R. Dunn played at the University of Alabama before entering the 1977 NBA draft, when he was selected in the second round by the Portland Trail Blazers. He has also seen the NBA from the bench as an assistant coach to the Houston Rockets. Dunn's visit included multiple reunions between Buck Johnson and his teammate, as well as Wimp Sanderson and his players. It's always a pleasure to have T.R. back home in Birmingham, and the Tip Off Club hopes to welcome him back again soon.
Fran Fraschilla, ESPN College Basketball Analyst
On January 9, 2017 the Birmingham Tip Off Club welcomed Fran Fraschilla back to the Harbert Center. Fraschilla spent this past summer comentating the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Although, he disclosed to the Tip Off Club that he was not in fact in South America, but rather in the Northeast. He discussed the status of USA basketball on the world stage, as well as the exciting progress made by other countries across the globe. Despite the meeting taking place on the same day as Alabama's run for a National Championship, Fraschilla drew a full crowd to the Harbert Center. As a true basketball enthusiast, he says that his job never feels like a job at all. His main focus during broadcasting is to make the game relatable to anyone watching, and we must say he does a remarkable job. Without doubt our January 9th meeting was a success, and we look forward to welcoming Fraschilla back again in the future.