By Todd Purvis/Sports editor

After men’s basketball coach Travis Ford received his recent contract extension, the Colonels’ coaching staff has filled two more vacant jobs on the staff.Following the departure of former assistant coach Dagan Nelson, the Colonels were left with a burden to fill, but the decision wasn’t a difficult one, according to Ford.

After spending last season as Ford’s student assistant, James Altman was promoted to the vacant seat on staff.

“The big thing about James is that no one works harder than he does,” Ford said. “I feel very fortunate to have him as a part of our staff.”

Altman is a 24-year-old native of Rockville Centre, N.Y. After graduating high school, Altman went on to play basketball at Division III Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y. from 1998-2002.

While playing at Hartwick College, Altman was co-captain his senior year, two-time all-conference, third all-time in career three-pointers and eighth all-time in assists.

After graduating college, Altman went on to be an assistant coach at Santa Fe junior college in Gainsville, Fla., for one season then came to Eastern to be the student-assistant.

With one year of Eastern basketball under his belt, Ford decided to move Altman up to assistant coach.

“James is somebody that I have always considered for the job, and when it came down to it he was somebody who fit the need that we had,” Ford said. “He understands our system and our program, and he has a lot of very valuable connections when it comes to recruiting.”

Altman is very appreciative of the promotion and is looking forward to the challenge.

“I’m very thankful to coach Ford for believing that I can handle all of the responsibilities,” Altman said. “I’m over excited.

When Altman was promoted to assistant coach, the position for student assistant became open, and former Union College N.Y. assistant Dale Wellman came in and took on the role.

“Dale is somebody who wants to be a coach and move up the latter and this is a great opportunity for him,” Ford said. “Dale is taking some masters classes here at Eastern Kentucky, so he and I are just now talking about his role will be.”

Wellman graduated from the University of the South with a bachelor’s degree in History, where he played basketball all four years and baseball for three seasons, sitting out his sophomore year because of shoulder surgery.

He then went on to work on his master’s degree at the University of Georgia and is now taking classes at Eastern.

“This will be a great opportunity for Dale to see all of the ends and outs of how a program works,” Ford said.

Reach Todd at

todd_purvis1@eku.edu