Rylie Torrey only thought she was going to start her coaching career at Berryhill High School.
That’s before the former Locust Grove and Oral Roberts University standout received an offer she couldn’t refuse.
Torrey was approved as new girls basketball coach at Preston during a meeting of the district’s board of education Monday.
She will join her fiancé in the tradition-rich Okmulgee County school district. Chase Littlejohn, a former Stilwell High standout, has been hired as the Pirates’ new boys head coach.
“It was kind of a ‘God thing’,” Torrey said. “We thought it would be best for the future of our marriage (to be at the same school). One thing after another fell into place and we thought we had better say ‘yes,’ or we would be fools.’”
The couple plans a July 11 wedding at Moore’s Flying M Ranch in Inola.
Torrey, who ended her final ORU season in March, was hired last month to be Berryhill’s head volleyball coach and a basketball assistant.
But she was offered the Preston job Friday and accepted Monday after pondering what she said was a tough decision. She said she phoned Berryhill athletic director Keith Chronister, who understood and supported her decision.
Preston has won seven gold balls in girls basketball and five in boys basketball, all mounted in the lobby of the gym. But the Pirates haven’t won a state title in boys or girls since 2014.
“It’s a little bit of pressure,” Littlejohn said, “but that’s our goal, getting back to the standards and success this program has had in the past.”
Preston superintendent Mark Hudson was elated.
“We feel without a doubt that we have hired the two best young coaches in Oklahoma,” he said. “We didn’t hire Rylie because of Chase, and we didn’t hire Chase because of Rylie. We hired them for who they are. You couldn’t find two young coaches who come more highly recommended.”
Torrey led Locust Grove to the 4A state title in 2015 and was named Tulsa World girls basketball player of the year.
She replaces Kaylee Byrd, who left Preston after two seasons to become girls head coach at Frontier.
Littlejohn led Stilwell to a state runner-up finish in 2014, a state-semifinal finish in 2015 and was named 4A state player of the year by the Oklahoma Basketball Coaches Association.
He played four years at Rogers State, shooting 47.7% from three-point range as a junior, and spent last season as a Mannford boys assistant. He replaces Shad Miller, who was Preston interim coach last season.