One of Section II’s most decorated boys’ basketball coaches will be back on the bench next season as Rich Hurley will return as the head coach at Troy High School three years after stepping away from the role to spend more time with his family.
Hurley’s return was approved by the Troy City School District Board of Education at Tuesday night’s meeting. He replaces Greg Davis, who coached the Flying Horses for the last three seasons after Hurley stepped down and led Troy to the 2019 Section II Class A championship.
For the last three years, Hurley’s only official involvement in basketball was coaching his son Sean’s rec teams, but he always stayed close to the Troy program and kept his eye on the Suburban Council and Section II boys’ basketball at large.
The plan, he said, was always to come back eventually. This year, the time was right.
“The itch was always there,” Hurley said in a phone interview Wednesday. “It was time to get back in there, be front and center again.”
When Hurley stepped down in 2017, citing a desire to spend time with his wife, Danielle, and children Sean and Maya, Troy athletic director Paul Reinisch knew that the idea was that Hurley would one day return to the bench.
“The conversations got a lot more serious a couple months ago,” Reinisch said. “His children are getting older, a little more independent. I think, as a parent, that’s the most important thing when your kids are a little older. He’s got a little bit more time that he can commit to coaching at Troy. It just kind of worked out well.”
“Having coach [Hurley] back, it was something I was looking forward to.”
Hurley’s first stint as the head coach at Troy ran from 2011 to 2017. In six seasons, his teams made five Section II championship games, winning the Class AA area crown in 2013 and the Class A championship in 2016, when the Flying Horses finished as the state runners-up.
Davis led Troy for three seasons, winning the Class A area title in 2019.
Both Hurley and Reinisch expressed gratitude for the work Davis did at the head of the program.
“This was never going to be an easy conversation with him, even though he knew at some point I was going to come back,” Hurley said. “That makes it tough. … Because Greg’s disappointed. He wasn’t fired, he wasn’t let go, it’s just that I was coming back.”
“I know that to hear the news that Rich was going to come back was probably in some way a little bit disappointing, because [Davis] thoroughly enjoyed running the team,” Reinisch said. “But, this is something we all knew. I can’t thank Greg enough. Whatever he wants to do, he’s got me in his corner. I have nothing but good things to say about him and the job he did for us.”
Prior to his six-season run at Troy, Hurley spent five years as the head coach at Bishop Maginn, ending in 2009. His 2007 and 2008 Golden Griffins teams both won Section II Class AA championships, with the 2007 team finishing as the state runner-up and the 2008 team capturing the state title.
Hurley said both his tenure at Bishop Maginn and his first run at Troy ended because he was “burnt out,” a product of his intense, year-round dedication to the game of basketball.
This time around, he plans to strive for a little more balance, something he’s learned in his three years away from the bench.
“I need to do a little bit of a better job of allocating to my staff, because I try to do everything and that jumps up to bite you sometimes,” Hurley said. “I need to realize that it’s OK to take a little bit of a step back, to rest and not always be all-in.”
The staff being assembled around Hurley should help to facilitate that newfound balance.
Reinisch said the plan was to surround Hurley with a more experienced coaching staff, similar to the football staff Troy has put around head coach Bob Burns in recent years.
“It’s not easy to [delegate], for any head coach,” Reinisch said, “and I think as you start to see the staff that we will assemble, that staff will be a little bit different than the staffs we’ve had in the past. The staff will show a little more experience, it’ll be a little bit aged.”
Right about now would typically be the time Hurley would start to get his team’s offseason work started, but that’s not possible right now with schools closed through at least May 15 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hurley said he’ll use whatever offseason he gets to start building a relationship with a group of Troy players who were mostly at the modified level when he last coached.
“I’d love to get in there and really build a relationship and a culture,” Hurley said, “because every coach’s culture is different. Just getting them used to me and me used to them is really what we can’t do right now.”
“I’m confident we’ll get that done,” he added. “We’ve got plenty of time.”
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.