The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

October 8, 2013

Beckley native Jason Slay named assistant coach at Tennessee St.

What do Oprah Winfrey, Ed “Too Tall” Jones and former Flying Eagle Jason Slay have in common?

They’re all Tennessee State Tigers.

Following a brief period as director of basketball operations at Georgia Southern University, Slay, a former Woodrow Wilson basketball and football star, has been named as an assistant coach at Division I Tennessee State University in Nashville.

Slay, 28, joins the staff of the Tigers under second-year head coach Travis Williams.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Slay said of his new opportunity. “The biggest thing for me is I get to go out and recruit all over the country.”

Slay served as director of basketball operations at Georgia Southern for five months. Prior to that, he was one of the top assistants at one of the top prep schools in the country, Hargrave Military Academy, based in Virginia.

The former Flying Eagle also spent four years as an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at West Virginia State University, where he was a four-time letter winner and two-year starting point guard.

It’s that experience, at only 28 years old, that Slay hopes will help him connect to younger players he meets on the recruiting trail.

“I can relate to these guys,” he said. “I’m only five years out of their position, and with my upbringing I can kind of relate to them. I’ve been through a little bit of everything. If they’re going through something rough, I’ve probably been through something similar. It’s one of the biggest qualities I can bring a program.”

One of Slay’s first jobs?

Working with a potential NBA prospect in a 6-foot, 185-pound guard out of Chicago, Patrick Miller.

“Patrick is a tremendous kid,” Slay said. “He comes from a rough background, man, but he’s doing everything right. He has a 3.7 grade point average in business finance. He’s a tremendous talent.”

Slay, who admits to basically living out of his car for the last week, was officially hired as an assistant coach on Tuesday and will get to work quickly. He’s hitting the road today to visit his old stomping grounds at Hargrave and then Georgia, in hopes of bringing the next big thing to Nashville.

“It’s an unbelievable city,” he said. “So it’s exciting to bring some kids here. There’s a lot we can do to get kids here.”

Slay will get to visit another beautiful city soon.

The Tigers open their 2013-2014 season in Honolulu, Hawaii, as part of the Rainbow Classic on Nov. 8.

— E-mail: jrollins and follow on Twitter at @JDanielRollins.

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