Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Gurley pleased in new role

Former KU guard thrilled in position with Williams fund

August 3, 2011


Greg Gurley played in 124 games — while starting just one — during his four-year Kansas University basketball career.

He opened the 1995 Senior Day game against Oklahoma State — a showdown for the Big Eight regular-season title.

“I had 100 family and friends at the game. We had a big party afterwards. It was a cool day,” Gurley said about the Jayhawks’ 78-62 victory that assured KU a net-cutting ceremony for the fourth time in five seasons.

“I had about 15 or 17 (points). The guy I guarded had 45,” Gurley added with a laugh.

The former Shawnee Mission South standout guard actually scored 13 points off 4-of-5 shooting — including 3-of-4 from three — in 12 productive minutes. OSU’s Randy Rutherford exploded for 45 points off 11-of-19 three-point marksmanship — all in a losing cause.

You can bet Gurley will be telling the story of that game, as well as his team’s 1993 Final Four run, during gatherings with KU athletics department donors — and potential donors — in his new job as director of development of KU’s Williams Educational Fund.

The personable, 38-year-old Gurley, who worked in broadcasting the past 10 years while also owning a sports apparel company, has plenty of memories to share, including one involving current KU basketball coach Bill Self.

“He recruited me out of high school. In 1990, I had an in-home visit with Eddie Sutton and Bill Self,” Gurley said of Sutton, the former Oklahoma State coach, and Self, then an assistant at his alma mater, OSU. “Bill remembers my parents’ basement, that my mom made some cookies, all the names. He’s a machine. His memory is ridiculous. He is something else.”

Gurley certainly will be talking to some of Self’s former players — as well as Roy Williams’ former players — in his new fundraising role. He’ll be talking to athletes and ex-athletes alike.

“It’s one thing to ask (for donations). It’s another thing to say, ‘Hey, you should come back,’’’ Gurley said about conversations with former players. “A lot of guys haven’t been back to see the renovations — football or basketball.

“The (hoops) locker room and players lounge ... that stuff is cool. My philosophy is not going to be hard-selling, saying, ‘Hey, if you come back, I want you to stroke a check before you leave.’ That’s not going to be me. They are going to give if they want to give.

“Some of the football players who were here when I was here haven’t been back. I mean, football games are so much fun. Guys need to get back and see the new complex down by the stadium. I mean, that is first-class. They see that, and they’ll see this administration is serious about everything.”

Gurley said the basketball facilities are so much better than during his playing days (1992-95).

“It’s big-time,” Gurley said. “The locker room, bathroom, weight facilities ... everything about it is night and day. Raef (LaFrentz) hasn’t been back since ’01. We talked the other day about just coming back for a game. I said, ‘You will say, “This is an NBA-esque facility.’’’

Gurley, who has been on the job six weeks, will be commuting from Kansas City, where he lives with wife, Amy, and daughters Kate (11) and Jane (8).

Part of his job description is “implementing strategic fundraising initiatives with Kansas athletics annual-fund and major-gift donors, with an emphasis on K-Club letterwinners and donors in the K.C. metropolitan area.”

“I think my broadcasting was enough from November through April, but now it’s nice to be up here all the time,” Gurley said. “I love Lawrence. I love this school. It’s not like this is a stepping-stone job for me. This is it. I love this place. Everything about it. I’m happy.”

And KU is happy to have him.

“Greg is a Kansas native and is well connected in the Kansas City area,” said Terry Mohajir, KU associate athletic director for development and marketing. “His love for this university, his intimate knowledge of Kansas athletics and his many relationships with former KU student-athletes make him a good fit for this job.”

Late Night visitors: Three prospects tell they will be attending the Oct. 14 Late Night in the Phog on unofficial recruiting visits. No. 43-rated Isaiah Lewis, a 6-3 junior from Christ the King High in Brooklyn, N.Y., is considering KU, Memphis, Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, Florida State and UConn. No. 44-rated Allerik Freeman, a 6-4 junior from Olympic High in Charlotte, N.C., is considering KU, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Clemson, Villanova, Texas and many others. No. 37-rated Brannen Greene, a 6-7 junior from Mary Persons High in Forsyth, Ga., is considering KU, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky and others.


cato_the_elder 6 years, 10 months ago

Good luck, Greg. You're a great Jayhawk and will do a fine job.

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