After a Princeton Board Meeting in April during which boys basketball coach Kevin Howard was not rehired and two assistant coaches resigned, the Tigers were looking for new leading men for the program.

Fast forward to the meeting on Wednesday and Princeton has found their men.

Former Bureau Valley assistant coach Jason Smith was hired to replace Howard as the head coach, while Michael Murray and Daniel Murray — who resigned in April — are coming back as volunteer coaches and Mark Rabe and Erick Wahlgren were added to the coaching staff.

Tim Smith, who was the freshman coach last season, was retained.

“Jason is passionate about the game, possess strong leadership and communication qualities, will represent Princeton High School in a positive manner and will be a great role model for our student athletes,” PHS athletic director Jeff Ohlson wrote in a press release.

The new PHS coach was a Storm assistant coach for six seasons.

In the 2017-18 season, Smith led BV to a 27-5 record, the Three Rivers Conference East Division championship and a regional championship.

For his efforts, Jason Smith was named the 2017-18 NewsTribune Boys Basketball Coach of the Year.

Michael Murray had resigned because of other opportunities.

After thinking about the situation, he figured out a way he could fulfill his other obligations and still coach.

“I am coming back as a volunteer coach because I can’t commit to fully being there 100 percent,” said Michael Murray, who was the Tigers sophomore coach last winter. “I don’t want to be in a lead role to a program that I can’t give 100 percent commitment. I think volunteering and helping out as much as I can is the best option for me.

“Once I thought about it, the kids in the program are just amazing kids to be around. I learned so much from the kids. All of them are great, great student-athletes. I never had any problems with any of the players or their parents. It was something that I wanted to come back to and help the kids grow. I wanted to see these kids through their high school careers and help grow them as players.”

After talks with Ohlson, Jason Smith and Tim Smith, the 2011 Princeton graduate felt he needed to come back to the Tigers’ sideline.

“Having those guys all reach out to me and have them show me their support and that they wanted me to be part of the program and to coach alongside me made me feel appreciated,” Michael Murray said. “It made coming back and coaching alongside them a little easier. Whenever you feel wanted, it makes things easier to come back to.”

Daniel Murray had stepped away to start a family as he was expecting his first child.

His son was born April 18. A month into the fathering experience, Daniel decided being a father and a volunteer coach at the same time was manageable and something he wanted to do.

“It’s all about the great group of young men and basketball players we have here,” Daniel Murray said. “Getting to raise my son and being able to coach will be great.”

Jason Smith could not be reached for comment.

Brandon LaChance can be reached at 220-6995, or sports @newstrib.com. Follow him on Twitter @NT_LaChance.

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