OPRF makes Phil Gary next boys basketball head coach

School alumnus comes in familiar with program

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By James Kay

Sports Editor

For the first time in 12 years, Oak Park and River Forest High School will have a new leader running its boys basketball program.

In a press release issued June 17, the school announced that Phil Gary will be its next head coach after its month-long search to find a replacement for longtime coach Matt Maloney.

According to the press release, Gary graduated from the school in 2007 and served as an assistant coach to Maloney during the 2013-14 season. Gary also served as an assistant coach at Walter Payton College Prep for five years before taking over as head coach of the program last season.

"I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to come back and coach where I've made some of the best memories of my life," Gary said in the press release. "I plan on promoting a culture that will focus on positivity, discipline and enjoying the game of basketball, and am looking forward to the continued success of the OPRFHS basketball program."

In terms of his playing career, Gary played alongside NBA veteran and former Huskie Iman Shumpert in the backcourt during the 2006-07 season. After graduating in 2007, he moved on to Malcolm X Junior College (where he led the nation in assists with 9.9 per game) before accepting an athletic scholarship at Florida International University. According to FIU's website, Gary averaged 9.6 points per game and 3.3 assists per game.

The release also stated that he moved on to play professionally in India for one season as well as one season in the NBA's Developmental League (now known as the G-League).

"I felt ready for the next level after playing under [former longtime OPRF basketball coach] Al Allen and alongside Phil," Shumpert said in the press release. "The OPRF community is in great hands with Phil teaching and pushing young players the same way we were pushed. The Huskies need their state title!"

OPRF's athletic director John Stelzer also added the following statement:

"We are thrilled to have Phil Gary leading the Huskie basketball program," Stelzer said. "When we started this search, we wanted to find a coach who was familiar with our communities and our school, was high energy and had the ability to build positive relationships with our student-athletes, and who was respected by all stakeholders and had a passion for coaching at OPRFHS."


MORE FROM WJ SPORTS

RELATED: Fenwick football officially cancels Ireland trip

RELATED: OPRF boys basketball loses another college prospect

RELATED: The need for activism in the sports world

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

4 Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Jim Frenkel  

Posted: June 22nd, 2020 8:59 AM

That's great news! Fingers crossed for a successful next season. Go Huskies!!

Tom MacMillan from Oak Park  

Posted: June 18th, 2020 5:24 PM

Congrats on a great hire

Jason Cohen  

Posted: June 17th, 2020 6:24 PM

Great hire!!!

Ken Van Spankerswanson  

Posted: June 17th, 2020 2:05 PM

Welcome back, Coach Gary.

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad