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Kuchta named Seymour boys’ basketball coach

By Greg Bates

SEYMOUR – Be yourself.

It’s a simple piece of advice but extremely impactful.

That was the message former Seymour High School boys’ basketball coach Jon Murphy texted to Bobby Kuchta when he was announced as Murphy’s successor.

Bobby Kuchta

Kuchta, a 2004 Seymour graduate, played under Murphy and the two have stayed close over the years.

“That’s part of the job that’s going to be pressure to follow in his footsteps, but he reached out and said, ‘Be yourself,’” Kuchta said. “It’s good advice – be yourself, and you’ll be fine.”

Kuchta returned to Seymour in 2016 to take over the girls’ basketball program.

In four seasons, he sported an overall record of 61-37.

Murphy, who retired in July after 33 seasons on the bench, amassed a career record of 615-193, which is the fourth most wins in boys’ basketball state history.

“It’s something I had my sights on for a long time, pretty much since I came back to Seymour,” said the 34-year-old Kuchta. “I wasn’t planning on it this year, because I thought Murph was going to be back. When the opportunity came, it was too good to pass up.”

Kuchta has coached for nine years, all at the varsity girls’ level.

Kuchta, who has a career record of 152-64, coached at Peshtigo for five seasons before coming back home.

Seymour activities director Ryan Spaulding said he was pleased with the quality of candidates that applied for the job.

The top candidates went through two rounds of interviews before Kuchta was offered the position.
“He showed us what we’ve seen out of him in the girls’ program, and that’s someone who has varsity experience, both at Peshtigo and Seymour in girls’ programs,” Spaulding said. “I don’t anticipate any issues of transitioning from girls to boys. He has lots of energy and excitement. He’s going to be different than coach Murphy, but at the same time, it’s not going to be drastically different. That’s not necessarily something we were looking for or not looking for, but that’s what he’s going to bring.”

Kuchta is a physical education teacher in the district and has three young kids in the school system.

He said he plans on coaching for as long as he’s teaching.

“I told Ryan, coaching is a passion of mine, and regardless of boys or girls, I’m going to give 100 percent to whatever program I’m at,” Kuchta said. “It’s awesome to come back and coach for a program I played for and had lots of good experiences with. Hopefully, the teams I have, we can share some of those same experiences.”

When Murphy retired in late July, Kuchta applied and started studying the boys’ program.

He acquired the team’s password for Hudl and watched every game from the 2019-20 season, in which Seymour finished 23-2 and reached the sectional semifinals.

“I was able to watch every game from last year to become more familiar,” said Kuchta. “The team used many varieties of defenses, set plays and out of bounds plays. I’m trying to steal some of those, but I’ll utilize the experiences of the coaches I plan to have as well. With that combination, I think we’re going to have a successful year.”

All the while watching his future players, Kuchta took notes on the opponents to get a good idea of what his team will be facing this upcoming season.

Kuchta was a starting guard on the Thunder teams that went to the WIAA Division 2 state title game in 2003 and ’04.

“I want to build relationships with the guys and get to know them on a basketball level,” Kuchta said. “I’ve had most of them in class, so I know them a little bit, but I don’t know them on the basketball level. The expectations will be high. They made it to sectionals last year, so I’d assume that’s going to be a goal of ours to get back – maybe further.”

With the boys’ basketball coaching position filled, Spaulding now has to hire someone for the vacant girls’ coaching spot.

Kuchta said he’s excited for his chance to run the boys’ program, but he’s sad to step away from the girls’ program.

“I built good relationships on the girls’ side,” he said. “It’s nothing personal, and we had lots of awesome experiences. We had some ups and downs, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I feel like I’m leaving the girls’ program in a good place.”

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