Bob Richey recently completed his second season as head coach of the Furman men’s basketball team and his eighth as part of the program.
Under his leadership, the 2018-19 Paladins reached new heights with a school-record 25 wins, including victories over defending national champion and eighth-ranked Villanova and 2018 NCAA Final Four participant Loyola Chicago. Furman finished the season with a 25-8 overall record, 13-5 league mark and earned the school's first trip to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) since 1991.
Furman's 2019 senior class finished with a school-record 90 wins over four seasons, including a 48-18 overall record and 26-10 Southern Conference mark in Richey's first two seasons. Since the beginning of the 2016-17 campaign, Richey has helped the Paladins to their most successful three-year stretch in program history with a 71-30 overall record that includes a stellar 37-9 worksheet inside Timmons Arena.
Senior Matt Rafferty, who paced the country in win shares and defensive win shares, finished the season as the only player in the SoCon to rank in the top 10 in points (17.5ppg), rebounds (9.0rpg), assists (4.3apg), steals (2.5spg), blocks (1.1bpg) and field goal percentage (61.5%). The first team All-SoCon selection also ranked among the league leaders in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.1) and free throw percentage (76.7%).
Junior Jordan Lyons earned third team All-SoCon honors after a standout season that included a 54-point performance and NCAA record-tying 15 three-point baskets versus North Greenville. Forward Noah Gurley garnered SoCon All-Freshman honors.
In his first season as head coach in 2017-18, Richey guided the Paladins to school record-tying 23-win season that included a then school-record 22 regular season victories. Under his leadership, Furman placed three players on All-Southern Conference teams and the 2018 senior class finished their careers with 76, now third best in school history.
Guard Devin Sibley earned first team All-SoCon honors, while forward Matt Rafferty and guard Daniel Fowler garnered second team all-league accolades. The Paladins ranked second in the SoCon averaging 79.4 points per game and ranked third in scoring defense at 68.5 points per contest. Furman posted a 13-3 home record at Timmons Arena, including a 7-2 mark against SoCon opposition.
“I am excited to have Bob Richey as the face of the Furman program moving forward,” said Furman Athletics Director Mike Buddie, at the time of Richey's hiring. “The trajectory of our program is due in large part to Bob’s efforts and I know that trajectory will continue in the right direction. After a record-setting season, to be able to maintain continuity is fantastic. Bob is well qualified and will continue to run a program that will make the Furman family extremely proud.”
A native of Florence, S.C., Richey, who served six seasons as a member of the Paladin coaching staff before moving into the head coaching role, helped Furman to a school record-tying 23 total victories and 14 Southern Conference wins in 2017, while the program earned a share of its first Southern Conference regular season championship in 21 years and a trip the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) Postseason Tournament semifinals. The 2016-17 Paladins, who also won a school record 12 road games, notched back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since 1974-75, and captured postseason victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
“I am truly humbled to be given the opportunity to lead the Furman basketball program moving forward,” said Richey, at the time of his hiring. “To have the chance to continue to work at this great university and sustain the relationships I have established is quite an honor. I look forward to continuing the success that we have built on the court, while we recruit and align with the overall mission of Furman University. With our basketball program, outstanding liberal arts degree, beautiful campus, and city, Furman will continue to attract the best student-athletes and prepare them for success in all areas of their lives. We look forward to the days ahead!”
Richey, who has served as position coach for the Paladins’ guards since joining the Furman staff prior to the 2011-12 campaign, has recruited and developed back-to-back Southern Conference Players of the Year. Guard Stephen Croone, who finished his Furman career with 1,936 points, earned consensus SoCon Player of the Year honors in 2016 before joining the NBDL’s Sioux Falls SkyForce for the 2016-17 season. Junior Devin Sibley followed Croone by earning 2017 SoCon Player of the Year honors, first team All-SoCon accolades, and first team NABC All-District laurels. Sibley was joined on both the All-SoCon squad and NABC All-District Team by fellow Richey recruit Kris Acox, who capped his career with 1,051 points and ranked among the SoCon’s top rebounders over the past two seasons.
In 2016, Richey played a key role in Furman’s return to the postseason as the Paladins fashioned a 19-16 overall record, finished third in the SoCon with an 11-7 mark, and advanced to the second round of the CIT with a buzzer-beating victory over Louisiana Monroe at Timmons Arena in first round action. Furman won a school record 14 home games, including 11 in a row, while Croone earned player of the year and first team All-SoCon accolades.
The previous season, Richey helped lead the Paladins to their first Southern Conference Tournament finals appearance in 13 years as the Paladins downed No. 2 seed Chattanooga and No. 3 seed Mercer to advance to the league championship game.
Richey’s recruits have garnered all-conference honors in nine consecutive seasons, including Furman recruits Stephen Croone (2014, ‘15, ‘16 All-SoCon), Kris Acox (2017 All-SoCon), and Devin Sibley (2017 All-SoCon). He has also helped recruit six players over the last five seasons who have garnered SoCon All-Freshman honors, including Sibley, who won 2015 SoCon Freshman of the Year accolades.
An associate head coach for the Charleston Southern Buccaneers during the 2010-11 campaign, Richey helped CSU achieve its highest win total in 14 years in 2011. In five seasons as an assistant at CSU, he recruited five players who went on to garner All-Big South Conference honors, highlighted by the school’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer Jamarco Warren and 2013 all-league performers Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper. Richey helped the Bucs improve their conference record in each season, culminating with a squad that ranked in the top 50 nationally by averaging 74 points per game in his final season.
During his five years at Charleston Southern, Richey recruited five of the top 11 scorers in CSU history in Warren (1,968 points, 2nd all-time), Nimley (1,866 points, 3rd all-time), Harper (1,633 points, 5th all-time), Kelvin Martin (1,483 points, 8th all-time) and Jeremy Sexton (1,253 points, 11th all-time). Two of his recruits earned Big South Freshman of the Year honors in their rookie seasons, and he placed at least one player on the Big South All-Freshman squad in four consecutive seasons. Basketball analyst Jeff Goodman rated Richey as the No. 4 assistant coach in the Big South Conference in 2010, while Richey also ranked as the youngest coach on the list.
A graduate of Florence Christian School, Richey led his team to a 28-2 record and state championship his senior year. He was named the 3A State player of the year and currently holds seven school records at Florence Christian.
Richey graduated summa cum laude from North Greenville University in May of 2006 with a degree in business management. In April of 2007, he married the former Jessica Tingle and the couple have two children, Audrey Gabrielle and Robert McIntire “Mac”.