Last Hurrah

Shirley to step down after season


Due to his wife, Melissa, being relocated to a job in Chicago, boys basketball coach and social studies teacher Joshua Shirley will step down from both positions at the conclusion of the school year. He will coach for the rest of the basketball season and teach for the rest of the year and then move to Chicago with his wife and family.

He told his team last Thursday at the conclusion of tryouts.

Shirley has been teaching at the high school for seven years, and has been head coach of the basketball team since he started teaching. 

He previously assisted in coaching basketball at Campus, Conway Springs, and Salina Sacred Heart, where he also taught. 

“I’m very happy and I owe a lot of thanks to our players,” Shirley said in reference to the state of his program as he enters into his final season. “It’s been them throughout my seven years, it’s not something I’ve done alone. It’s been my assistant coaches, the administration, all of that. It’s always difficult to do but I feel like we have made up some ground from when we started to where we’re at now.” 

In the time Shirley has been coaching the basketball team he’s been to state three times in six years, including making it to the final four in 2020, and winning the AVCTL Division IV Coach of the Year in 2019. His record as head coach through the past six years is 64-66. 

Shirley’s philosophy about leaving the program goes along with a certain phrase he tells his players. 

“We always talk about in the program, whether its locker rooms, gym floors, whatever it is, you wanna leave it better than you found it. Part of me hopes that’s what we’re doing here–being able to leave this a little bit better than when we found it. “

Shirley said this year does feel different knowing it is his last at RHHS. 

“I would like to say no, but that’s just not the truth. The truth of it is that it is different,” said Shirley.  “I’ve got a great coaching staff helping me out with it all but I’d be lying if I said everything is exactly the same as it’s been in my previous six years. I want this season to be about our kids. It’s not about me, it’s not about any sort of last run I’m on. It’s 100 percent focused on our team and what our team can accomplish this year.”