Ivory said, “My dad was my first coach so I would say he is a big influence on me… He was just a great person and an unbelievably talented athlete. He just played hard and he played the right way. He was a really good person for me to emulate.”
After playing on teams throughout elementary school, Ivory joined the varsity football and basketball teams at North Meck High School. After graduating, he enrolled at Andover as a Post-Graduate where he further pursued his basketball and football careers.
Ivory went on to attend Davidson College as a walk-on for the division one basketball team. He played at Davidson for all four years and was awarded a scholarship his senior year.
Ivory said, “When you play for a small school in a small conference, you work really hard to make it to the NCAA tournament. We had to play I think three games in a single elimination so if you lose you’re out and your season is over and we won three games and won the Southern Conference Championship and qualified to play in the NCAA tournament my sophomore year.”
Following his collegiate career, Ivory moved to the United Kingdom where he played professional basketball for the Manchester Magic.
After playing professionally for a year, Ivory retired his basketball career as an athlete and went on to become a coach. He started as a coach at Blair Academy but later returned to Davidson College as an assistant coach and the Director of Basketball Operations. There, Ivory coached Stephen Curry, who now plays in the NBA. Before every game, Curry and Ivory would shake hands, jump, and touch shoulders.
After coaching at Davidson College, Ivory worked at Colgate University before returning to Andover in 2011.
Ivory said he hopes to pass on the hands-on wisdom he has gathered over his years of personal training and coaching. He leads his players with the mindset that mistakes are okay as long as each player is working their hardest and learning from errors.
Ivory said, “Your effort and the way you compete matter so much and if you play with effort and you play hard every play, you are going to be more successful. The way you approach the challenges that you face on a daily basis, whether it is on the court or off the court, that matters. You want to approach something saying I’ll figure this out and having [a positive] mindset.”
Ivory has also helped his players reach their full potential by encouraging them to take more risks and helping them increase their confidence, according to Post-Graduate Derrick Herrick ’18 and Co-Captain Dallion Johnson ’20.
Herrick said, “He has helped me be confident a lot. He believes in me, so my confidence has gone up a lot. He has incorporated me a lot in the offense and just telling me that I’m here for a reason [makes me feel more confident].”
Johnson said, “He made me more confident as a shooter because he would yell at me if I didn’t shoot the ball and if you think about it, that is kind of crazy for a coach to yell at you for not shooting. Usually coaches yell at you for not playing defense.”
In practice, Ivory lifts the team up by continuously having a positive attitude and cracking jokes when needed, though he remains a serious coach when he needs to in order to help his players, according to Jack Penney ’21.
“He definitely has a different presence than all my other coaches. He’s not as tight, he’s looser than the other coaches I’ve had but he’ll yell at you when he needs to,” said Penney.
Penney continued, “He’s always happy and positive. It definitely helps the team atmosphere in a positive way because it really helps everyone want to be there.”