Richard Hurt and his wife Jenny are the parents of basketball standouts Michael, Matthew and Katie Hurt. Michael is a freshman forward at the University of Minnesota, Matthew a sophomore forward at John Marshall and a top-five ranked player in the country in his 2019 graduating class, and Katie a seventh-grade forward who has already made the JM varsity roster.
Richard, himself a former player at JM, has played an integral role in his kids' player development, working with them since they were tykes. He's lived through the thrills and the challenges of rearing kids who are in the athletic limelight.
What's been the most satisfying thing about having kids who share your passion for basketball?
RICHARD: More than anything it is that they truly share in that passion. What I mean by that is while Jenny and I have introduced them to the game and certainly helped with their development, they have all taken it to a much higher level than we could have imagined. Games are where the general public gets to see their talent on display but seldom do they see the thousands of hours of work that it has taken to get there. That is where their true passion lies and it has been very organic as each one of them has developed habits that will not only make them successful on the court but more importantly in school, in life and whatever path they find themselves on.
If someone had told you 10 years ago that Michael would be playing basketball at the U of M, Matthew would be one of the country's most recruited players, and Katie would be suiting up for the JM varsity as a seventh grader, what would you have thought?
RICHARD: I'd be lying if I said yes because they would have been 8, 6 and 3 at the time. With that said, basketball is a sport that requires a lot of hard work that is built over countless hours and years of skill work and development. I did know at a very young age that all three of my kids would work hard at anything they do so for them to ultimately be where they are today is not a huge surprise. There is a formula for this and they have certainly followed it and continue to do so but it's like Kevin Durant says, "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard."
What's been challenging about being the father of kids who are so often in the limelight?
RICHARD: It is certainly cool to have people talk about and say nice things about your children. That never gets old! I'd say there are a couple of challenges, though. Anytime people achieve some level of success that is publicly covered or documented there are a very select few people who want to be critical of that success. With the popularity of social media, message boards and other online avenues it has become easy to post things that aren't always the most flattering about the kids. It is very hard to tune that out and not take it personally, but you develop a certainly level of immunity to it over time. The other challenge can be keeping a level of humility consistent with our family values. The biggest thing we have tried to tell Michael, Matthew and Katie has been for every good game or level of success that they achieve, that should motivate them to put in more work. From a coaching perspective I have always preached to forget your last shot whether it was a make or a miss. Move forward and continue to work hard!
A wild hypothetical: Basketball is taken away from us as a society. What do you replace it with, as a hobby and a passion?
RICHARD: First thought is March would be a pretty empty month without the madness. It certainly would be a tragic society without basketball, but I would probably replace it with golf. I used to golf 5-6 days a week before I had kids and even when they were younger. Unfortunately we are on the road so much during the spring and summer months with AAU basketball that my golf game has suffered immensely. Interestingly enough, the boys have started to play a little golf with their limited free time so maybe it's something we'll all be able to do together in the coming years.
Tell us something surprising about the Hurt family?
RICHARD: We are a pretty simple family who enjoy each other, so typically it's what you see is what you get. I wouldn't say it is surprising, but basketball wise Jenny was the talent in the family. She played for John Marshall from 1987-1990 and was an all-state player her senior year. From a broader perspective, we are so thankful for the support that our family has gotten over the years here in Rochester, in the state of Minnesota and beyond. As proud as we are of our children, it is extremely gratifying when people approach us and tell us how much they have enjoyed watching our kids play basketball.