Bob Richey Here to Stay: Building Something Special
Furman Athletics recently announced the contract extension of men’s basketball coach Bob Richey. Richey’s indelible impact is something that his players, the student body and the entire University values a great deal. Richey, in his fourth year of coaching, is creating a program and culture that will last long beyond the ink on paper. Athletic Director Jason Donnelly said, "Bob Richey has done an outstanding job as our head coach, and we are thrilled that this extension will keep him in Greenville for the foreseeable future." He went on to add that, "Bob is the right leader for our program on and off the court, as well as in the community, and his impact has been felt across all areas of our university.”
With a long list of accolades under his belt, Richey’s drive and willingness to succeed is only increasing; he said he is grateful and expressed humility when discussing the extension. Richey has built a model for a successful program, and his team is ready to hit the ground running when the time comes. He stated, “we’ve focused on safety…we have had no positive COVID-19 tests which is credit to our discipline. One thing we always talk about is having the proper perspective… [we get] to play the game we love dearly.” Richey stands for numerous values that you do not typically see in college basketball today. For example, creating a culture that ensures development of the person as much as the player. “There is a huge gap in this for college athletics…a lot of places are cut and paste. I don’t want that…we’re a developmental program, and that’s something we don’t hide behind.” With his “FURthertheMAN” program, Richey is truly invested in building an organization that values the person, student and athlete. Richey said he focuses on four things: “People, process, product, and performance…we want to show the difference that our program makes, we want to show how unique we are.” And unique they are. Furman Basketball has a number of off-court initiatives, and the City of Greenville, not just the University, understands Furman Basketball and Richey’s worth.
When asked about how a mid-major school markets themselves, Richey insinuated that it’s pretty easy at Furman – “We have a great city and there aren’t many better degrees or campuses out there…we focus on being elite and of the highest-level.” However, he noted that it is hard to compete with the top-notch facilities of other schools; in particular, Richey mentioned Elon and Wofford. Despite that, Richey says a plan is always needed to succeed: “Hope can never be a strategy…we need ruthless execution.” And Richey has made sure hope isn’t their strategy; he maintains that “we have built up our hunger, seven weeks of activity have our guys ready.”
Furman Basketball’s notoriety has only increased; the entire country is taking notice of Richey and his program. However, the team has failed to make it on the biggest stage, which is competing in the NCAA tournament. In response to this, Richey said, “it’s the last step and we’re knocking on the door…we’ve built something that’s ready to stay the course, we are right there.” There is no doubt that Furman will get there, and when they do, the country better be ready.
Richey’s goals are clear: win, build a sustainable program and develop his players on and off the court.