North Greenville University graduate Bob Richey, whose Furman Paladins claimed the national spotlight by advancing to the second round of the 2023 NCAA Division I Basketball Championship Tournament, will deliver the address at NGU’s spring commencement exercises on May 5 at Younts Stadium in Tigerville.
“Having one of our own alumni who has demonstrated how to live out God-honoring values in the national spotlight come back to deliver the commencement address is a special opportunity for our community,” said NGU President Gene C. Fant Jr. “We are delighted that Coach Richey will be speaking as one who has been in the same place as our graduates are in right now.”
NGU anticipates conferring degrees on 287 graduates during spring commencement ceremonies, which cap the academic year at the private university affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention.
Richey has been at the helm of the Furman men’s basketball program for six years, after serving six years as an assistant coach for the team. He has guided Furman to a 139-54 overall record over the past six years. The .720 winning percentage ranks in the top 20 among all active Division I head coaches.
Reared in Florence, Richey attended Florence Christian School, where he led the basketball team to a 28-2 record and state championship his senior year. He played college basketball at Tennessee Temple University before moving to North Greenville.
Richey graduated summa cum laude from NGU in May of 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in business management. He was an assistant coach at Charleston Southern University for five years before returning to the Upstate to join the Furman staff.
After a heartbreaking loss at the buzzer in the 2022 Southern Conference tournament championship game, Furman won the 2023 conference tournament to qualify for the NCAA Division I Tournament. The #13 seed Paladins kicked off March Madness with a 68-67 upset of #4 seed Virginia in the South Region first round before falling to eventual national runner-up San Diego State University. Finishing with a 28-8 record, Richey’s squad set a school record for wins in a season. Despite national acclaim, Richey declined to move to a larger NCAA program after the season, opting to remain with Furman.
Richey met his wife, the former Jessica Tingle, while they were students at NGU. They were married in April 2007 and have three children — Audrey Gabrielle, Robert McIntire “Mac,” and Jacks Berner. The Richeys are members of Downtown Presbyterian Church in Greenville.
— Billy Cannada is marketing communications manager for North Greenville University.