By Josh Brown
Troy Daily News
TROY — Even though Paul Bremigan is leaving coaching, he isn’t going far.
After coaching the Troy boys basketball team for the past four seasons and a career that included 36 years at Russia High School, 31 of those as the Raiders’ head coach, Bremigan announced that he was stepping down as coach of the Trojans Monday in a meeting with his players. He will continue to teach physical education at Troy, though, he said.
“I feel like my energy and passion was not where it should be in order to take Troy basketball to the next level,” Bremigan said. “I feel like we have improved, but a new ‘voice’ in the program was needed.
“I plan to continue teaching at Troy. I told them … they aren’t getting rid of me so easy.”
The decision brings to an end a lengthy and illustrious coaching career for Bremigan.
Bremigan coached at Russia for 36 years, including 31 as the head varsity coach after he took over the team in 1984. During that time, he went 437-274, winning eight Shelby County League titles, 11 sectional titles, five district titles and one regional championship in the process. Under his tutelage, the Raiders were the state runners-up in the 2001-02 season. By comparison, the Troy boys basketball program went 285-390 during that stretch.
When Bremigan took over the Trojans to begin the 2015-16 season, the team was struggling, having gone 17-51 in the three preceding seasons and not winning more than six games in a year during that time since reaching the district final in back-to-back seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12.
His goals upon arriving at Troy?
“We established a culture of discipline throughout the program,” Bremigan said. “We emphasized that accountability, trust and respect for others were the foundation of what we were trying to do as a team. We didn’t accept excuses. We wanted them to know that you need to show up on time, work hard and be accountable for your actions. That is real life, and that is what gets you hired and fired.”
In Bremigan’s first year with the team, the Trojans went 8-15, and they had their best year with him at the helm this past season, winning their final four-straight regular season games and going 10-13 in 2018-19 — the first time the team had won double-digit games since those back-to-back district final years. His final record with Troy was 34-58, bringing his career record as a varsity coach to 471-332. He coached his 800th career game on Feb. 12, a 50-46 win over division rival Tippecanoe.
The team’s success this winter surprised many, given the Trojans had graduated a star-caliber player in Zach Reichelderfer in the offseason and had a relatively young team entering 2018-19. But with only three seniors and a lot of fresh faces, Troy was able to get to 10 wins and finish third in the Greater Western Ohio Conference American North Division. And even though the Trojans did not win a tournament game under him, Bremigan said he felt that his and his team’s greatest successes were intangible.
“My greatest successes were seeing our teams come together as a group and play hard, tough and unselfish, win or lose,” he said. “If we could walk off the floor knowing we had given everything, then my job as a coach was a success.”
Bremigan held a meeting with the team after school on Monday to announce his decision — and to let them know that he’d still be around.
“I told the players after school today that after 40 years of coaching, I feel that I don’t have the energy or passion to continue coaching at the level needed for them to be successful,” he said. “They were understanding, and the other coaches had nice things to say. I told them that I will still be teaching physical education here, so they aren’t getting rid of me so easy. I will be there supporting them with all my heart.
“I plan to continue teaching at Troy. It is a job I enjoy very much. I well be able to spend more time with my family, who have sacrificed so much so that I could coach. My wife and sons have been a big part of the basketball programs at Russia and Troy, and I owe them a lot.”
Josh Brown is the Sports Editor of the Troy Daily News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.