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'Ultimate gym rat' Don Tuley headed to Seminole State as head coach

Local high school basketball community will miss longtime Capitol Hill coach.
by Scott Wright Published: April 23, 2013
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photo - Capitol Hill High School's head basketball coach Donny Tuley coaches his players at The Dome at Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2007. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD
Capitol Hill High School's head basketball coach Donny Tuley coaches his players at The Dome at Capitol Hill High School in Oklahoma City, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2007. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman ORG XMIT: KOD

Don Tuley is the ultimate gym rat.

He was hired as Capitol Hill High School's boys basketball coach in 1981, and since then, every night when there was basketball being played in an Oklahoma gym big or small, Tuley was probably there.

Most of those nights, he was coaching. For 32 seasons, he led Capitol Hill, a run that ended with Monday's announcement that he had accepted the head coaching position at Seminole State College.

Over the last 13 seasons, Tuley has pulled double-duty, also working as an assistant college coach — 12 years at Redlands Community College before helping at Oklahoma City University last season.

But even on the nights when one of his teams wasn't playing, he could usually be found sitting somewhere watching basketball. Maybe scouting a future opponent, recruiting for one of his college teams, or just trying to learn something new.

“He's extremely committed to the coaching profession,” Star Spencer coach Patrick Cudjoe said. “He does all those things during the season, and in the summer, he still works as hard as any of us, making sure his players are developed and in shape.”

Tuley has a deep love for basketball — which is only surpassed by his passion for helping young people.

It's a quality he has never been boisterous about. And his gritty exterior might help to keep his generous heart secret to much of the outside world.

But Tuley has never hesitated to help a kid. It might be something simple, like a ride home after practice, a sweatshirt to wear on a cold day, or a meal.

“What he does on the basketball court is transcended by what he does off the court,” Cudjoe said. “He's constantly making sure that his kids have everything they need.

“He wants to provide them with everything he can.”

For all of those reasons, Tuley will be missed at Capitol Hill, a program he kept in the top 20 of Class 5A most of his tenure, even when it didn't have the talent to belong there.

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by Scott Wright
Reporter
A lifelong resident of the Oklahoma City metro area, Scott Wright has been on The Oklahoman staff since 2005, covering a little bit of everything on the state's sports scene. He has been a beat writer for football and basketball at Oklahoma and...
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