HAZELWOOD: Langhurst's love for hoops shifts to administrative role

Mark Hazelwood • Jul 13, 2018 at 2:05 PM

MOON TWP., Pa. — When he was scoring points at a record pace, Jimmy Langhurst never exuded the popular ‘coach on the floor’ moniker.

Yes, the 2006 Willard graduate was a savvy guard, always in control. He ran a successful show on the floor for the Crimson Flashes — and later at Division I Robert Morris. But as someone who had a front row seat to the area’s all-time points leader in high school — future college head coach didn’t come to mind when watching him.

Funny how things work — because Langhurst felt the same way as me. Yet last week, Robert Morris announced him as the Director of Basketball Operations for the men’s basketball program — another key step toward his goal of an NCAA Div. I coaching position.

The move comes after spending the past four seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA Div. II LeMoyne College (Syracuse, N.Y.) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, Pa.).

“I really never envisioned this — even in college this was never on my mind, to be honest,” Langhurst said. “I just remember seeing our assistant coaches at RMU working from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It just always seemed like they were there.

“They’d tell us all the hours and trips, not complaining, but we’d hear the stories about all the stuff they did,” he added. “And I remember thinking, ‘Man, I’m not cut out for this.’ And then now here I am, and I love it.”

Often times it is nothing more than cliché to cite ‘the love of the game’ as a driving point for an athlete. But that might be what Langhurst exuded the most as a player in helping Willard to three regional appearances (2003, 2004, 2006) — and the Colonials to the NCAA tournament twice (2009, 2010) and the NIT (2008) once.

“I love that grind of putting in the work, everything about it,” he said. “It’s pretty clear, set in black and white in coaching. You either like it or you don’t — and I love the whole aspect of what this means.”

In terms of rising the ladder to the ultimate goal of coaching in Div. I — Langhurst believed this was the right move, though he won’t be involved in the daily coaching duties for the Colonials.

And don’t just take his word for it. Some of the advice he received was from University of Michigan head coach John Beilein — whose son, Patrick, is the head coach at LeMoyne.

“I had a great time at LeMoyne with Coach Beilein, but this was just the right move,” Langhurst said. “To get to Div. I and be an assistant, that’s the goal. It’s the right move career-wise for getting to where I want to be.”

In four years at RMU, Langhurst appeared in 90 games (74 starts). He finished with 781 career points, finishing shy of 1,000 points as an ACL injury cut short his final season at the school.

He was a 41 percent career shooter from the three-point line and 84 percent at the free-throw line. Langhurst is seventh all-time in career three-point percentage.

“It really worked out when this opened up at the school where I played, and it’s where I wanted to be,” he said. “Obviously there are a lot of familiar faces here to help me out in this new position.”

But for all the coaching strategies and things he learned as an assistant coach, as Director of Operations, Langhurst will be in more of an administrative role.

A large amount of the job is maintaining the daily schedule and budget, helping keep an eye on the academic and compliance side of the players in the program — and essentially help with anything else head coach Andy Toole will need to make the program run smoothly.

Along with managing the day-to-day operations of scheduling and ordering equipment and supplies, Langhurst will play a role in recruiting as well.

While he cannot recruit off-campus, he’ll be able to do so on campus and help plan and coordinate visits. And though he cannot actively coach on the court, Langhurst will be involved with film study — so he will not be completely hands off with the RMU players.

“Like most jobs, there is so much behind the scenes that people don’t know,” he said. “It’s so much more than coaching, and the recruiting and classroom aspect is a whole different aspect.

“We’re here every day meeting and going over recruiting stuff now,” Langhurst added. “But obviously we want our kids to be right in the classroom, and building relationships with community service work.

“That side of it continues every day,” he added. “That is the nature of the beast.”

It will certainly be a big switch for Langhurst. He scored 2,199 points at Willard — still 27th all-time in Ohio, where he is also sixth and seventh in state history for free throws in a season (231) and career (592). He helped RMU to the grandest stage in college basketball — and played professionally overseas before serving as an assistant coach.

Langhurst was the best pure scorer I’ve seen from these parts to date, and has been in a role where he has had a say in everything.

The young man who forever put himself in Northwest Ohio lore with 55 points in a 101-98 win over Upper Sandusky and Ohio’s points leader, Jon Diebler (also 55 points), in a district championship game will now learn to impact the game — from an administrative behind-the-scenes role.

“It’s not really that much of a switch, if anything, it will just be more work,” Langhurst said. “I’ll still be at all of the same things, but with not being able to go out recruiting or talking during practice, that will be an adjustment.

“But it’s always good to be a fly on the wall,” he added. “It’s the best way to listen.”

It’s been 12 years since Langhurst set the area points record. And now that he’s entrenched himself into coaching — and has reached the ‘dreaded’ 30s in age — he has found himself part of an exclusive club.

But it might not be one he’s quite embracing — yet.

“I love being around young people, and it keeps me young at heart,” Langhurst said. “I like to think I don’t get old, but I am already starting to see some gray in my hair. I think that is the coaching color though. I guess you can say I’m part of that fraternity now.”

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