Jacksonville has hired Mark Alexander as its new head boys basketball coach, JISD athletic director Chris Taber confirmed to ETSN.fm Thursday afternoon.

Alexander had previous head coaching stints at Lufkin Hudson (2002-04) and most recently Henderson from 2006-12. He replaces Brent Kelley, who left for the same position at Whitehouse earlier this month.

Taber said he interviewed four candidates for the vacancy before settling on Alexander.

“We interviewed some really good coaching candidates; it was a tough decision," Taber said. "I felt like Mark with his experience at Henderson … it was best for our kids in our program to make for an easy transition. By hiring him, I think he can take what we’ve got here right now in our basketball program and take it to the next level. And secondly, he’s a great guy and a great role model for our kids.”

Alexander has spent the last few months outside of coaching.

“I was working in the solar industry in the corporate world," Alexander said. "Basically, they came to me and offered me a really nice job, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at that point in my life. I always knew I’d get back into coaching; I just didn’t know if it’d be a year, two years or five years. But I knew I’d be back in coaching pretty quick.”

Jacksonville finished 33-2 last season, winning its first 32 games of the season. In Kelley's four-year tenure, Jacksonville posted a 106-30 record and reached the Class 4A Region II tournament in 2011.

“Brent Kelley has done an absolutely phenomenal job here, along with a lot of the coaches that came before him," Alexander said. "Jacksonville’s got a really good basketball tradition; they’ve been pretty good the last 30 years or so, all the way back to the early ‘80s. Really, it’s a blessing and the timing was absolutely incredible. I wasn’t necessarily shopping, but keeping an eye on it. I gave myself a two-year goal (with what I was currently doing), and this job was the one that would get me to break that goal.”