2017 NEPSAC Semifinalist
2016 NEPSAC Coach of the Year
2016 NEPSAC Champions
2015 NEPSAC Finalist
2014 CIT (Holy Cross)
2013 NCAA Elite 8 (Middlebury)
2012 NCAA Sweet 16 (Middlebury)
“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~Unknown
Vermont Academy's 2016-2017 team was plagued by injuries and somehow VA still managed to win 19 games for the third season in a row. The Wildcats went 19-11, produced four all-league players (Jordan Nwora '17, Simi Shittu '18, Marcus Santos-Silva '17, and Bailey Patella '17) and made the NEPSAC AA Final 4 for the third year in a row. The program matriculated five players to Division I basketball including: Jordan Nwora '17 (Buffalo, NY) to Louisville, Christian David '17 (Milton, ON) to Butler, Marcus Santos-Silva '17 (Taunton, MA) to VCU, Bailey Patella '17 (Lenox, MA) to UVM, and Corey Romich '17 (Groton, MA) to Jacksonville. In addition, two players will play in the NESCAC: Will Brady '17 (Rigdefield, CT) to Tufts, and Matt Hanna '17 (Milford, MA) to Colby. Nwora and David were ranked Top 100 in the country and Shittu was ranked Top 10 in the country.
In 2015-16, the Academy reached new heights under the leadership of Coach Alex Popp and his staff. The Wildcats went 27-5, produced five all-league players (Bruce Brown ’16, Tyrique Jones ’16, Christian David ’17, Bailey Patella ’17, and Patrick Fisher ’16), and captured the NEPSAC AA Championship for the first time in school history. The program graduated six players who will play college basketball including: Patrick Fisher ’16 (San Diego, CA) to Winthrop, David Huber (Allison Park, PA) to Carnegie Mellon, Tinga Adiang ’16 (Khartoum, Sudan) to St. Lawrence, Tyrique Jones ’16 (Bloomfield, CT) to Xavier, Bruce Brown ’16 (Boston, MA) to Miami, and Nick Brooks ’16 (Franklin Park, NJ) to West Virginia Wesleyan. Brown was named NEPSAC Player of the Year and Jordan Brand All-American and Popp earned the title of NEPSAC Coach of the Year.
The Wildcats won 24 games in 2014-15, had four all-league players (Pat Fisher ’16, Bruce Brown ’16, Tyrique Jones ’16, and Corey Johnson ’15), and reached the NEPSAC Championship game, another historic moment for Vermont Academy. The program graduated four players who are playing college basketball including: Corey Johnson ’15 (Ottawa, Ontario) to Harvard, Ronnie Suggs ’15 (St. Louis, MO) to Bradley, Samuel Japhet-Mathias ’15 (London, England) to Wake Forest, and Jimmer Fritzson ’15 (Sharon, MA) to Rhode Island.
Popp hails from Division I basketball at the College of the Holy Cross where he worked with a program that posted 20 wins in 2013-2014—HC’s first 20-win season since 2006-07. The team also placed third in the Patriot League with a 12-6 record in conference play and received an invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Prior to Holy Cross, he was associate head coach at Middlebury College for two seasons under Jeff Brown—the 2012 NESCAC Coach of the Year. Popp helped carry the Panthers to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2011-12 with a 26-4 record, followed by a berth in the NCAA Elite 8 in 2012-13, posting a 25-4 record.
He earned his coaching chops at Springfield College while receiving his Master’s in athletic administration. Popp worked under Charles Brock—the 2010 NEWMAC Coach of the Year— helping the Pride to a pair of winning seasons. While at Springfield, he was recruiting coordinator and helped propel the program to its most recent back-to-back NCAA appearances following a six-year postseason draught.
No stranger to the court, Popp enjoyed a successful career at the University of Minnesota and Assumption College, leading the Greyhounds to a 24-11 record and a 2008 Division II Sweet 16 appearance. In 2005, his Minnesota Golden Gophers earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament.
In his free time, Popp serves as a consultant with specialization in college placement, job placement, athletic recruitment, skill development, social media, coaching, program development, and the admissions process.
MS, Sports Management, Springfield College
BA, Assumption College
Head Coach, Boys' Basketball, 2014 - present
Assistant Director of Admission
College of the Holy Cross
Director of Basketball Operations, 2013 - 2014
Associate Head Coach, 2011 - 2013
Springfield Armor Basketball / NBA D League
Assistant Coach of Player Development, 2010-2011
Graduate Teaching Fellow, Men's Basketball Coach, 2009 - 2011
Assumption College, 2005 - 2008 (MA)
University of Minnesota, 2004 - 2005 (MN)
Northfield Mount Hermon, 2003 - 2004 (MA)
Winchester High School, 1999 - 2003 (MA)
PRAISE FROM THE BASKETBALL COMMUNITY
Recruiting more than talent
"From seeing the type of players that Coach Popp recruits, it’s clear he is looking for more than talent, he is looking for high academic, quality people that have a desire to work hard and improve. "
– Tariq Sbiet, Canadian National Basketball Scout at NorthPoleHoops.com
Character comes first
"The dedication and commitment Alex showed to my son was amazing, and as a mother and educator, I found him to be the kind of person I would want my son to grow up to be."
- Dena St. Amour, mother to Matt St. Amour, Middlebury
"Coming from London, there weren’t many options with pursuing basketball other than going to America. Attending Vermont Academy opened more doors for me than I could have imagined, and I'm grateful for the development I experienced with Coach Popp and the program."
- Samuel Japhet-Mathias (Wake Forest Student-Athlete)