Growing up in Fresno, California, Alex was not afforded many opportunities and as a teenager began spending time with a new group of “friends” who also happened to be local gang members. Alex’s father recognized the path of self-destruction that his son was headed on and after the last day of school loaded him in the car and moved him to Gridley, California. There in Gridley, a gentleman by the name of Bob Brown saw the potential in Alex as an athlete and quickly took him under his wing. Early every morning before school, Bob would pick Alex up at home and they would train and work on his basketball skills.
All of his hard work and dedication paid off, bringing visits and offers from many Division I basketball coaches and schools. Alex chose to attend Arizona State University where he received a full athletic scholarship. Following his collegiate career, Alex was fortunate to play professionally for 15 years where he played in the CBA, NBA, ABA, South American and European Leagues. Throughout his career, Alex also has coached and directed basketball camps for many notable figures within the sport including Bryon Russell, Thurl Bailey, Pat Riley, Magic Johnson and Rick Majerus, to name a few.
Coaching camps in the summer, Alex came into contact with hundreds of kids each year, yet he knew that there were many who were missing out on this fun and rewarding experience simply because they could not afford the camp participation fees. During the ’03-’04 basketball season, where he was playing in Poland at the time, Alex and his wife Beckie began talking about these kids and set in motion their vision for A-Train for Youth.
Although the program initially focused on basketball camps, it has since evolved to include teams and training athletes at various skill levels. Working with children and passing along the knowledge of the game that has given him so much opportunity in life, is what drives him daily. Alex is extremely active within the community and cares deeply about each athlete participating in his program. Although his passion may come across as overbearing at times, there isn’t any doubt that he is passionate about each athlete associated with the program. Alex feels truly blessed to work with such a great group of kids and be able to do what he loves. Within a short period of time, the program has grown faster than he ever imagined and he looks forward to where the program will be in the coming years and beyond.
Glenn Bailey has been an AAU coach for over 19 years including a final four appearance in the Las Vegas Main Event and 2 AAU State Championships (Utah). Besides being a great coach, Glenn was a competitive skier winning 8 gold medals in various amateur slalom events. In the summer, he hones his skiing skills on the water. He has six kids and 2 grandkids. Glenn is a huge Redskins fan due to his 7 year residence in DC. Glenn owns his own construction business and his wife owns Lighthouse Hospice.
Mike Hopkins…or Mikey Mike as we know him, is a transplant from Florida (yes he is one of those obnoxious Gator fans). He has been a licensed lifeguard as you might expect from a person who lived in Florida. He came to Utah to ski and fell in love and has lived here ever since. Mike is the owner and operator of Mikes Tickets www.mikesticketsutah.com. He will still play a mean pickup game even with a bum hip (pun intended). Mike also likes to golf and travel.
Spence McDonald is a local to the Salt Lake area growing up in the lower east side of the valley near the Iceberg on 39th & 9th. As a punk kid Spence spent hrs. developing his skateboarding and basketball skills in the parking lot of his apartment buildings. Spence remembers little time spent indoors and less screen time spent than our current generation. Keeping our youth active and involved with their community is a great value Coach Spence believes is worth being are part of.
Coach Spence has been an Automotive technician for 10+ yrs. and recently made the career change to teaching school at 2 of the local Elementary schools in the area as the PE Specialist. Coach Spence is the "number 1 ref in the state" and can be caught practicing his refereeing skills at times in local leagues and as a UHSAA certified official when not coaching. (Would rather be coaching).
Spence enjoys skiing in the winter and fishing in the summer with family and friends. Coach Spence values the time spent working with the Atrain family and is blessed to be part of something special. GO MAGIC!