Arizona State basketball head coach Bobby Hurley has been through some difficult times in his life, including a car accident that nearly killed him. But, none of that compares to what his associate head coach, Rashon Burno has experienced.
“It’s nothing compared to anything I went through, my car accident and different things," Hurley said. "The stuff that Coach Burno has overcome in his life has been an inspiration to me."
Hurley and Burno both grew up in Jersey City. One, the son of basketball royalty, the other was raised in an environment filled with drugs, violence and poverty and lost both his parents at a young age.
Basketball was his ticket out and St. Anthony High School head coach Bob Hurley was the man to help.
“If you play basketball in Jersey City, you knew that if you wanted to play at the next level, you had to play for Coach Hurley,” Burno said.
His son Bobby was a success story that Rashon wanted to be.
“Twelve years old, I remember wanting to be Bobby Hurley and heard all the stories," Burno said. "He was at Duke playing for Jersey City. There’s not a lot of people that get to that level because of so many different reasons, so he was like a God in Jersey City.”
“I knew about Rashon and I was kind of floored by just his whole story and what he’s been through in his life," Hurley added. "Not many people could go through what he went through in his childhood and make it out of Jersey City and make it to be a successful person."
Rashon went on to win back-to-back championships at St. Anthony High School and continued his career at DePaul.
The two became like brothers and kept in touch over the years. And, when Hurley was named head coach at Arizona State back in 2015, Rashon would get a call and an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“When I had the opening and the chance to hire Rashon, I did everything I could to bring him here and convince him that it would work out," Hurley said.
“For him to mean that much to me as a player and someone that I wanted to be like, to have an opportunity 20 plus years later to help him was the ultimate payback, because I know what the Hurley family has done for me,” Burno said. “It was surreal because life came full circle.”