Alan Huss looks to take High Point to new heights

The former Creighton center and assistant coach takes over the Panthers

High Point University brought in some size for its basketball team, but it will be on the bench calling the shots, not in the paint blocking them.

The Panthers introduced Alan Huss as the 14th head coach in the history of the program, and the 6-foot-9 former center immediately became the big man on campus. Huss is one inch shy of Danny Manning, who may have set the state’s college coaching height record during his tenure at Wake Forest. He’s also taller than any player the Panthers have had on their roster in the last three seasons.

High Point brought Huss in from Creighton, where he had been an assistant to coach Greg McDermott since 2017. Huss also played at Creighton from 1997 to 2001, teaming with Kyle Korver to lead the Bluejays to three appearances in March Madness. He took the High Point job right after Creighton was eliminated from this year’s NCAA Tournament, losing by a point to a San Diego State team that went on to play in the national championship game.

“Less than 36 hours ago we had our hearts broken in the Elite Eight in what was maybe the most difficult loss of my basketball career — playing, coaching, everything,” Huss said. “Everything’s happened so quickly.”

High Point was able to lure Huss away from his alma mater, and he now takes over a program that has never been to an NCAA Tournament. The new coach doesn’t seem intimidated by the prospect of building a history at High Point.

“I’m not going to talk about our goals, out loud, right now,” he said, “but understand that our goals are at the highest possible level. They’re not the goals that everybody is telling us we need to have. The goals are at the highest possible level — things you don’t even need to say out loud. Just think them. That’s where our goals are. That’s where we’re going to get.”

Huss replaces a family dynasty that reached that level of accomplishment elsewhere. Tubby Smith, a former High Point star who won a national title coaching Kentucky, returned to his alma mater and had a 45-67 record from 2018 to 2022. His son G.G. took over in the middle of the 2022 season and was let go following this past season, posting a 17-20 record at the school.

While Huss was most recently associate head coach at his alma mater, he paid his dues on the coaching trail before getting there.

“I started out as a part-time freshman coach, 19 years ago,” Huss recalled.

He was an assistant coach at Eisenhower High in Illinois for three seasons before taking a head coaching job at Decatur Christian High. After eight years coaching at the high school level, he was hired as a college assistant by Craig Neal at New Mexico.

After three years, Huss was able to call on his college connections when a job opened up on the Creighton staff. One of the other assistants on the staff was a holdover from Huss’s playing days with the Bluejays.

“Darian DeVries was an assistant coach, he’s head coach at Drake now,” Huss recalled, “and he talked Coach Mac (Greg McDermott) into hiring a guy in New Mexico and having a leap of faith with me, allowing me to jump in at my alma mater, at the highest possible level of college basketball, and teaching me how to always be process driven.”

Huss also learned how to build relationships from the longtime Creighton coach.

“No matter whether we won or lost, treat people the best possible way,” Huss said. “Irregardless of how they played, how they performed. Most importantly, I learned how to treat people. Coach Mac is the best in the business at this. No matter if people can do something for him or not, he treats everyone with an incredible amount of dignity. He gives them time. He’s so wonderful with people. Without Coach Mac, I’d never have gotten there.”

McDermott spoke just as highly of his former assistant.

“I couldn’t be more excited for Alan and his family as they begin a new chapter at High Point,” McDermott said in a release from High Point. “His tireless work ethic and ability to evaluate talent, while developing the necessary relationships in recruiting is second to none. In his role as associate head coach, I have leaned heavily on Alan with virtually every decision we have made within our program.

“He has played an instrumental part in the sustained success of Bluejay basketball. He has great rapport with student-athletes, staff, and boosters. Alan, along with his wife Katie, and daughters, Nicky and Mary, will ingrain themselves in the High Point Community. He will implement a brand of basketball that Panther fans will enjoy. I wish Alan and High Point Basketball a tremendous amount of success moving forward.”

As is often the case when you’re 6-foot-9, things appear to be looking up with the new High Point coach.