Ursuline’s Durkin back as girls coach

There has to be many thoughts that go into making an important decision.

For Sean Durkin, a recent choice was clear.

“Simply, I missed it,” the Ursuline athletic director said. “I missed coaching basketball.”

An Ursuline graduate, himself, Durkin coached the Irish girls basketball team for 13 years before stepping down prior to the 2011 season. After a 231-94 record, he handed the program over to Courtney Davidson, a former Ursuline point guard and Michigan State product. Davidson went 24-23 in two seasons, including a district runner-up finish in 2012.

Davidson recently accepted a position with the Youngstown State women’s basketball program.

“Courtney was a pleasure to coach some years ago and she did a fine job with the girls over the past two seasons,” Durkin said. “I can’t express enough about the impact she had on the program.”

For nearly two months, the girls coaching vacancy was posted in local publications. Durkin said there were “many interested and qualified candidates from the area” who applied and sent resumes in for the job.

“I made the decision after a long talk with my family and we decided it was a great opportunity to get back into it and keep building on our progress,” he said.

Patricia Fleming, Ursuline’s principal who was “very supportive”, ultimately had the final say to allow Durkin to regain the position, but his wife of three years, Michelle, and 1-year old daughter, Annie, also played a part.

“(Annie) has a little ball she throws around, so she’s definitely in the game already,” Durkin said. “She was even in the gym with me when I told the girls I was coming back (on Wednesday).”

Durkin, also the Irish baseball coach, assumed all three roles for two years before.

“I’ll be busy, there’s no doubt about that,” he said by telephone from his couch Wednesday evening. “I’m used to the stress and pressure.”

In 2004, Durkin led Ursuline to the Division III state title and it finished runner-up in 2006. In 2011, his last year leading the girls, the Irish made the regional final.

“They know our goals,” Durkin said of future expectations. “We want to work hard and continue our tradition. There’s banners hanging all over our gym for a reason. The girls know what to expect from me and I know what to expect from them.”

While there won’t be an offseason for the foreseeable future, Durkin is enjoying some downtime but still manages the summer gym program at Ursuline.

Since 2000, Durkin has guided the Ursuline baseball team to five state tournaments. Most recently, the Irish fell in the 2013 Division III state semifinals to Wheelersburg. Four years ago, he assumed the athletic director role from longtime AD Jim Maughn.