By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
TROY — Taking over a program at present, much like everything else about loving through the coronavirus pandemic, can be a strange thing.
Just ask new Troy girls basketball coach Jeremy Hughes.
“It is very weird,” he said. “It’s surreal. I’m very happy to have this opportunity — but now we just sit and wait to be able to get into the gym and get things rolling.”
Hughes — who was an assistant with the Troy boys basketball team for four years and an assistant for the girls this past season — was recently named the new head coach of the Trojan girls basketball program, following Aaron Johnson, who stepped down after four strong years leading the team.
“It’s extremely exciting for me to be taking over,” Hughes said. “And not just because of all of the things that A.J. (coach Johnson) has done for me, either. The program itself is in a great place right now. I’m very excited about this opportunity.”
Hughes is certainly no stranger to Troy basketball.
“I was with the boys team for four years as an assistant, and then I transitioned to the girls team last year,” he said. “A.J. called me over the summer and said he had some spots to fill on the JV level. Two practices in, and I was already sold on what was going on with the girls. I knew that the talent was there, and I saw how hard they worked. They go after it every single day.
“Yes, this is my first head coaching experience. I was at Lehman for six years as a varsity assistant and JV coach before coming back to Troy. Once I got a teaching job at Troy, the same time (former Troy boys basketball coach) Paul (Bremigan) took over the boys team, I became an assistant for him during his time here. For the past 11 years, I’ve been grinding and learning from different people.”
And being back under Johnson’s tutelage this past winter was a plus, as well.
“When I was in high school, A.J. was one of the varsity assistants,” Hughes said. “He’s always been a teacher and a mentor for me, someone I’ve looked up to. It was just awesome to be learning from him again.”
And Hughes is taking over a Troy girls program on a definite upswing.
During Johnson’s four seasons as coach, the Trojans went 51-42 overall, including three seasons in a row above the .500 mark. The team went 11-13 during Johnson’s first season in 2016-17 — including the program’s first postseason victory since the 2010-11 season — and then posted a 12-11 record in 2017-18, the team’s first winning record since 2012-13. The past two seasons, the Trojans have gone 14-9, matching the highest total for wins in a season since 2012-13.
Of course, with schools and gymnasiums being closed as the state continues to grapple with the COVID-19 global pandemic, there are challenges for Hughes that are simply not normal.
“Obviously, we have names for the people we want on our staff, but making contact and getting the staff together is difficult,” he said. “But this is also the social media age. It’s easy to post workouts and drills for the girls to do online. But this is hard for any coach — not just a first-year coach. We always want to be in that gym with them, grinding and working on getting better.”
Hughes and the team will be hosting a virtual meeting at 11 a.m. Thursday — any girls interested in playing basketball for the Trojans will be able to find the details on how to take part on Troy High School’s athletic website.
Contact Josh Brown at [email protected].
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