The OPRF High School Athletic Department and the school’s District Leadership Team have recommended Matt Maloney to replace Al Allen as the head coach of boys varsity basketball.

The selection still needs to be approved by the District 200 School Board of Education. The board is expected to address the hiring at its meeting April 24.

Maloney, who graduated from OPRF in 1993 and played under Allen, has coached both basketball and baseball at the school for several years. He is currently an assistant coach for varsity baseball.

“When Matt played for me, I remember him never taking no for an answer,” said Al Allen, who retired at the end of this season after 21 years at the helm. “Matt was a hard-nosed kid, a fabulous shooter, and a real team guy. That’s why he was a member of my staff for so long.”

Maloney, who has lived in the community his entire life, was Allen’s head coach at the sophomore level for the last 10 years.

“The program is in very good hands,” said Allen, who left with an impressive 364-193 career coaching record while at OPRF. “And if a meteor hits the earth and he needs me to go scout for him, I will. But it’s Matt’s team and Matt’s program now.”

Maloney said his main goal will be trying to build interest in the sport at an earlier age.

“I want to build a bridge between our program and the junior high schools, and try to make it a dream for the younger kids to look up to the varsity athletes and fill those shoes some day,” he said.

Maloney said he’ll also be committed to having his players focused first and foremost on academics.

“Al Allen was extremely impressive on using the court as a classroom and I plan on following in those footsteps,” he said. “I want the players to look back someday and see that they were given something beyond basketball.”

When it comes to the game itself, Maloney said he’s a defensive-minded coach. “It’s defense first with me, and we’ll play a similar up-tempo style but I will certainly put my own stamp on things.”

Maloney said he’ll begin assembling a staff as soon as the hiring is official. The new coach will have an entire new team next year. The Huskies were heavy with seniors this season, which resulted in a 23-6 overall record and a third West Suburban (Silver) Conference title in four years. Not one junior played in a game during the season.

“This summer will be instrumental in figuring out what we will be doing on both ends of the court,” said Maloney. “It will really be important to us to figure out our team identity.”

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...