Bobby Hurley, head coach for the Arizona State University Sun Devils basketball team, and his wife Leslie (left) receive a plaque and flowers from Jill Platt, principal of Notre Dame Preparatory in Scottsdale (center). Hurley spoke at the third annual NDP Community Breakfast about how he integrates his faith into his work. (Courtesy of Kimberly Haub/NDP)

By Margaret Naczek
The Catholic Sun

SCOTTSDALE — Calling himself a product of Catholic school education, ASU men’s basketball head coach Bobby Hurley discussed how sports impacted his life at the third annual I Heart NDP breakfast at Notre Dame Preparatory April 18.

“It drives everything you do if you have faith behind the work you put into it,” Hurley said after the event. “There’s so many great lessons I’ve learned through Catholic education — the discipline, the structure, being a person that has character.”

Hurley was the keynote speaker at this year’s breakfast, which brought together members of the Scottsdale community, parents and faculty. Hurley’s daughter graduated from Notre Dame Prep in 2016, and he currently has a son, who is a freshman, at the school.

Students volunteered at the breakfast, which over 250 people attended. They served as greeters, led the prayer, sang the national anthem and assisted as servers through breakfast.

Senior Hannah Osland volunteered at the annual breakfast all three years of its existence.

This year, her aunt and mother attended the breakfast with her grandfather — a huge Duke fan very excited to hear the former Duke point guard speak. Osland, who played varsity soccer all four years of high school and will continue in college, was also excited to hear from Hurley.

“He’s speaking about sports applying to life as well,” she said. “Soccer is my life pretty much.”

Hurley, who attended Catholic school in New Jersey, spoke on his own success and failures, playing for Duke University through two championship seasons in 1991 and 1992 and during his time in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings.

“I do believe God gave me that gift, and I took that responsibility very seriously,” Hurley said of his talent for basketball.

Hurley also discussed what he considered the moment that ended his professional career. In December 1993, during his rookie season, Hurley suffered life-threatening injuries in a car accident.

“It was God’s plan to have a car accident,” Hurley told the crowd. During his rehabilitation in New Jersey, Hurley met his now wife, Leslie. “Sometimes the worst moments in your life lead to your greatest joys,” he said.

And Hurley believes sports and faith are intertwining in his own life and drives him to his own goals. He told the audience that he hopes to be the first person to win an NCAA championship as both a coach and player.

“There’s got to be something bigger than the sport that motivates you, that drives you,” he said after the event. “I know that God plays an important role. There’s always ups and downs, and you want to talk to Him as you’re going through these battles. You want to give Him all the glory.”

Guests attending the breakfast mingled following the event, including many taking photographs with the ASU head coach. Fr. Kurt Perera, the school’s chaplain, thanked those who attended the fundraising event.

“Because of you, we are able to form students who go out into the world and do amazing things,” said Fr. Perera.