OPRF hires new head boys basketball coach

OPRF hires new head boys basketball coach

Alum and former assistant coach Phillip Gary to return to the district.

The District 200 Board of Education has approved the hiring of Phillip “Phil” Gary as head coach of the Huskies boys basketball team, beginning with the 2020-21 season. Gary, a 2007 graduate of OPRFHS, served as an assistant coach during the Huskies’ 2013-14 season. He replaces Matt Maloney, who resigned as head coach in May 2020.

“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. “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.”

Since 2014, Gary has been a part of the basketball program at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School. He was the top assistant for five years before taking over the role of head coach for the 2019-20 season and leading the varsity boys basketball team to the IHSA Class 3A Regional Title game. An Oak Park resident, Gary also serves as the basketball coordinator for the Park District of Oak Park, where he plans and develops programs for children of all ages. 

"We are thrilled to have Phil Gary leading the Huskie basketball program,” Athletic Director John 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.”

Gary’s basketball journey began long before he embarked on his coaching career. He was a standout student athlete during his time at OPRFHS, where he played for longtime Huskie coach Al Allen and was teammates with OPRFHS alum and 2016 NBA champion Iman Shumpert. 

“I felt ready for the next level after playing under Al Allen and alongside Phil,” Shumpert said. “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!”

After high school, Gary attended Malcolm X Junior College and led the nation in assists (9.9) and scoring (19 points per game) as a sophomore in 2009. Gary then earned an athletic scholarship to play basketball at Florida International University, where he was the starting point guard and captain under the direction of NBA Hall of Fame player Isaiah Thomas. He went on to play professionally in India for one season and in the NBA Developmental League for one season.

In addition to his high school coaching experience, Gary has coached various Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball programs over the past six years, including Impact Basketball and Made Men, the AAU team sponsored by Shumpert.