Some coaches step away from a high school sport, get that itch and come back several years later for another shot.
New Marian Central boys basketball coach Charley Walsh may have set a record for time between head coaching jobs.
It was 28 years ago that Walsh stepped down as Harvard boys basketball coach after two seasons and went into private business. He remained attached to basketball, sometimes coaching AAU teams, including his own Prime Time Performers program.
Now, Walsh is back and excited for another chance at high school coaching. He was hired last month when Marian athletic director Curtis Price, who had resumed coaching for two years, resigned to concentrate on his AD duties.
It’s not often you get a second chance to do something you really love," said Walsh, 63, who lives in Cary. "I had regrets of ever leaving high school coaching. I love competing. I love working with young men. You’re there for a moment in their journey through life, and you try to help them out.
"You use sports as a vehicle to teach a kid how to accept a challenge, how to work collectively, and I get a kick out of watching that all come together.”
Marian was 2-29 last season but returns most of its roster, including point guard Jakub Baranski, who was limited by a back injury.
“Coach will be a great leader for the basketball program,” Price said. “His knowledge for the game and his commitment to excellence is perfect for our student-athletes. Coach has the enthusiasm. I’m excited to watch him guide our basketball program.”
Walsh’s Harvard teams were 16-9 in 1990 and 2-22 in 1991. He became a real estate appraiser when he left Harvard as teacher and coach. He and Cary-Grove assistant coach Dan Adams started Prime Time Performers in 2008, a club team that attracts mostly McHenry County players.
“We’re a not-for-profit organization,” Walsh said. “We just work on the kids’ skills and try to get them ready to compete.”
Walsh is getting acquainted with his players. Marian plays in a summer league in Wauconda and will play in some shootouts.
“I wish I’d never gotten out of [coaching],” Walsh said. “I have enough energy and enthusiasm to fire people up and have a positive impact on these kids. I just want to get to know them and have them get to know me. To understand what it is I’m looking for. The strength of any group is the relationships that tie you all together. You have to have trust and relationships. That’s what we’re trying to do this summer.”