In just a month after he was controversially fired at Kenwood Academy, Jim Maley found work again.
St. Laurence High School officials announced Tuesday that Maley was hired as the school’s boys basketball coach.
To hear some talk about it, Maley was fired for having stringent rules regarding academics and conduct and sat out some of his players, which didn’t sit well with parents. Speculation is that it helped cause his ouster in March, sparking a debate among observers about Kenwood’s priorities.
“We had a code of conduct in place,” Maley told the Chicago Side Sports website. “We tried to hold kids accountable for their grades and their actions in school. We were willing to lose games before we would violate the policy. We had some parents hot about it.”
“The reason I was given was that we weren’t winning enough games. This was frustrating for me especially all that we’ve done off the court and on the court.”
He told the website he comes from a family of coaches and that he places emphasis on character and academics.
“We have a standard where you have to have a 2.3 [grade point average] and they have to maintain it at all times,” he told the website. “If it went down to a 2.2, we would sit people. We sat one of our players before a big game. We lost but that taught the team that we’re serious about all of the off-the-court stuff. We had a player last year who was disrespectful to the security guard. We sat him. He was our best player and we ended up losing because of it.”
Maley began his coaching career at Glenbard West High School, where he was a volunteer varsity assistant as well as head junior varsity coach.
After Glenbard West, Maley was a sophomore coach and then the head varsity coach at Kenwood, where he compiled a 46-34 mark with at least 15 wins each season. His team also improved their cumulative GPA and decreased their number of school absences.
“As a result of what our coaching staff built, Kenwood Academy will be a serious contender for a public league championship next year and will have at least three players in line to earn Division I scholarships,” Maley said in a news release. “I’m committed to creating those same results for the Vikings.”
“We are thrilled to add a coach of Jim Maley’s caliber to our athletic department,” St. Laurence’s Athletic Director Tim Chandler said in a statement.
“First and foremost, his commitment to academics and developing the whole person really stood out in the interview process. Add in his impressive basketball credentials, including his experience in turning around a program, and it was a no-brainer for the committee. It was very apparent that coach Maley is a basketball junkie and he is going to work tirelessly to restore the proud tradition of St. Laurence basketball.”
Maley played for Lyons Township in high school, where he was named three-time all-conference, two-time conference player of the year, and two-time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-state.
He played a year at Northwestern University and finished at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
It appears that St. Laurence’s philosophy will be more in line with his own.
“During the interview process, I was overwhelmed with confidence in the direction, vision and leadership of president Joe Martinez, principal James Muting, and athletic director Tim Chandler,’’ Malay said. “We seem to share the same set of values and beliefs, which was the deciding factor for me in taking the job.”