Lifelong Orlando-area resident Greg Shirley is retiring from coaching high school basketball in Florida after 30 years of service.
But at age 51 he is ready to start anew in Tennessee. Shirley, head coach at Boone for the past five seasons, said on Saturday night he has agreed to become boys basketball coach for Brentwood, Tenn., which has made three consecutive final four appearances.
“It’s a very successful program, and it’s in the area my wife and I have talked about moving to,” Shirley said. “I’m totally excited about this new opportunity. At the same time, it’s tough saying goodbye to people I care about at Boone. I’m proud to have been a small chapter of the Boone basketball tradition.”
He replaces Dennis King, who retired last month at age 65 after coaching Brentwood since 1983. The Bruins reached the state semifinals in 2012 and 2014 before losing a championship game 65-62 to Hamilton of Memphis last season in Tennessee’s largest classification (3A).
Brentwood, which sits 11 miles south of Nashville, was 30-7 last season and 92-15 over the past three years.
Shirley, who attended Lake Brantley and UCF, had an 85-53 record with two district championships and two Metro Conference east division titles at Boone. He is 196-114 in 11 career seasons as a head coach.
His final Boone team was arguably the surprise team of the area. The Braves entered last season to little fanfare but went 21-10 and stunned state title contender Dr. Phillips in region play before losing a dramatic 54-47 overtime region final vs. state runner-up Hagerty.
Shirley began coaching as an assistant at Jones in 1985. He spent the next 15 seasons as an assistant for Evans, then four more as the Trojans head coach. After two years away from the game Shirley returned to head coach for two years at Ocoee before moving to Boone.
“It was a very difficult decision. I’ve lived here all my life,” Shirley said. “But we’re excited. It is a great opportunity.”
Buddy Collings is a senior sports writer covering high schools for the Orlando Sentinel. You can reach him at [email protected]