CHICAGO | In 1999, Mount Carmel athletic director Frank Lenti needed to hire a new baseball coach. Brian Hurry had been an assistant to departing coach Tony Manville, so Lenti invited Hurry to his house, and the two chatted in Lenti's basement.
"I wasn't sure what he wanted, but in the back of my mind, I was hopeful," Hurry said.
"I think Brian thought he was going to get fired," Lenti said. "He was a little nervous, but the meeting went well.
"I saw and knew Brian's passion for the game. I knew he would do a good job."
That might be an understatement. In 14 years with Hurry as coach, Mount Carmel has won 411 games, 12 regionals, six sectionals and was a state finalist in 2003 and 2011. The team won the Class 4A title this year.
Before Hurry took over, Mount Carmel had never won a sectional game, let alone a sectional title.
For his outstanding season and leading the Caravan to its first baseball state championship, Hurry is The Times Baseball Coach of the Year. He also won it in 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2005.
With Mount Carmel's victory against St. Rita on May 11, Hurry became the youngest high school baseball coach in Illinois to win 400 games.
Hurry credits his assistant coaches and the Mount Carmel players for getting him there.
"We are blue-collar kids and we believe in the hard-work theory," Hurry said. "Nothing fancy, but go out and do your job. Our kids have that same philosophy. They just get it done."
Hurry graduated from St. Francis De Sales in 1991. He played for the legendary Gordie Gillespie at the University of St. Francis, winning the 1993 NAIA World Series.
Hurry played on the Hegewisch Babe Ruth team that won the 1988 state title, then coached the team when it won again in 1998.
His assistants are also from the South Side, particularly East Side and Hegewisch. Assistant coach John DiFilippo grew up with Hurry in Hegewisch; they were classmates at St. Francis De Sales.
"The guy lived baseball even back then," DiFilippo said. "He was a fiery kid; he was so intense and that carried over in his game. He loved the game."
If it weren't for baseball, Hurry said he likely would have joined the Navy like his dad, Dennis, and older brother, Mike. Dennis Hurray now attends nearly every Mount Carmel baseball game, and was there to hug his son this spring when he won that 400th game and the state title.
Jerry Houston Jr., a Mount Carmel senior who will play baseball at Oregon next year, said Hurry helped the Caravan focus on small steps to winning, even after a rough start.
"For Coach Hurry, it was try to win every at-bat, do the little things," Houston said. "He made sure we were ready to play every pitch, every at-bat, every inning of every game."