Former Purdue basketball player D.J. Byrd is climbing his way up the coaching ladder.

On Friday, Mercer University announced that Byrd has been promoted to an assistant coach with the program. He had previously served as the team’s director of basketball operations.

Mercer head coach Greg Gary announced Byrd’s promotion.

“I am very exciting about DJ stepping into his new role,” Gary said. “He has an excellent basketball mind and a fantastic rapport with our playes. He will continue to be a great asset to our program.”

Byrd played college basketball at Purdue from 2009-13, appearing in 130 career games and scoring 890 points. While a player at Purdue, Gary was an assistant coach on Matt Painter’s staff.

“It’s an honor,” said Byrd. “We had a player-coach relationship at Purdue, and then I became a graduate assistant there before coming to Mercer. I understand what he wants as a head coach and how our staff clicks and works together. For him to put me in the role of assistant coach is both an honor and a challenge. I have a new role to learn and will work to make the transition as seamless as possible. I’m ready to be on the floor and sidelines coaching our players.”

Byrd followed Gary to Mercer before the 2019-20 season, when Gary was named the head coach of the Bears. Last year, Mercer finished the season with a 17-15 record.