Halley steps down as THS girls’ basketball coach

TORRINGTON – After 25 years, Torrington High School basketball coach Jeff Halley decided it was time for someone else to take over.

Less than a week after the Lady Blazers wrapped up the season at the state tournament, Halley announced his decision to step down as the head coach of the program.

Halley’s 25-plus year career ends with an overall record of 346-264 head coaching record, including a 239-179 record at Torrington.

His head coaching career spanned two schools, including Newcastle prior to his arrival in Torrington.

This decision has been a few years in the making.

“It’s been a good time. I started thinking about this a few years ago,” Halley said. “Girls basketball idea used to be my life. I lived it. I breathed it. The more summers kick in. The bus trips, and as my own kids started getting older and doing different things, there is more to life than this.”

His career started in Montana some 29 years ago where he coached football, track and helped with boys’ basketball.

“When I first started doing it, I didn’t even want to get into girls’ basketball,” Halley said.

That all changed with the move to Newcastle.

Halley coached football, track and became the coach for the freshman girls’ basketball team.

That one year, he decided it wasn’t too bad, and when the varsity position came open, he jumped at it. He fell in love with it and has done it ever since.

“I knew I’d rather be coaching the varsity than the younger kids,” Halley said. “I took it, and away we went.”

Several years later, when Halley ran into Marv Haiman and Walt Smith at a state tournament, they tried to recruit him back to Goshen County.

He balked at the idea for two or three years before deciding to return to the area 16 years ago.

“It worked out with the job situation in Newcastle,” Halley said. “The timing was perfect. I came down, interviewed and got the job.”

During his time here, he has reached a state championship game, watched the community rally around his team after tragedy and was able to coach both his daughters – Reece and Laura – for four years.

“When we first moved here, Reece was only 2-1/2 years old. They were always at practices and always at games. Credit to my wife for hauling them around all over the place. It was a good time,” Halley said. “Laura had a good experience. Basketball wasn’t really her thing, but she gave it everything she had. Reece had a phenomenal career. All four years, she’s been leading us. It was fun to watch her grow.”

After getting to town, it took Halley only two years to have the Lady Blazers in the state championship game in 2008.

That team lost only four games that season – twice to a Jordan Hooper led Alliance, Nebraska team, his former team in Newcastle and in the state championship. The team had a 19-game winning streak.

“That was a fun ride to deal with,” Halley said.

The 2008 season came to a close with a loss to Jackson in the state championship game that year.

“We had really good kids,” Halley said. “I was telling Reece the other day, we had a team full of competitors instead of two or three.”

That year marked one of Halley’s career highlights.

The other came in 2014.

It definitely was not one of the better memories, but one Halley will never forget.

That weekend the Lady Blazers lost a former teammate in Kaylie Haun in a tragic accident while her sisters, Maddie and Murphy Haun, were still on the team. The way the community rallied around the team made it memorable for Halley.

“That was one of those weekends that will stand out forever,” he said. “It was a tough situation, but it just goes to show you how tight-knit the community is and how we are one big family.”

Now, Halley will be able to be a fan at games moving forward. He will still continue to coach golf and teach at THS moving forward.

“There are days, I’d rather go watch my own kid play and be a fan for once,” he said.

Reece has committed to continue her basketball career at North Platte Community College next season, and this decision will allow him to do just that.

One thing Halley stressed about the last 25 years was the relationships he has built, from former players, other coaches and even opposing team’s players.

“I’ve made so many great relationships through basketball,” he said. “You spend so much time on the bus, in the gym and everywhere else. The relationship piece is probably the favorite thing I’ve ever had about the whole deal.”


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