Tim Riley is ready to return to the sidelines – just a little farther south.

The longtime Warren Central boys’ basketball coach confirmed Tuesday that he’s accepted the same position at Springfield (Tenn.) High School.

Riley heard about the job more than a year ago and went to watch the team play last season under its interim coach, he said.

“I thought they had a really, really good collection of athletes,” Riley said. “Not a great basketball team, but excellent athletes, and I thought I could do something with it and build a program.”

Riley resigned as Warren Central coach and retired from the Warren County school system in 2011 after a highly successful run with the Dragons.

He amassed a 307-128 record in 14 seasons with WCHS and won eight Region 4 titles. Riley has a 27-3 record in the Region 4 Tournament and 12 wins in the Sweet Sixteen, including the 2004 state title.

The school named its basketball court in his honor in February.

But he stepped away two years ago to accept an assistant coach position on Western Kentucky women’s basketball coach Mary Taylor Cowles’ staff.

Cowles was fired one season later, and Riley spent a season away from the game as a sales consultant at Leachman Buick GMC Cadillac. He came to a realization about coaching during that time.

“I know how much I miss it and love, and this is what I want to do,” Riley said. “I want to coach, I want to be around kids and I want to help them grow. You kind of learn what your true passion is sometimes when you’re away from it.”

Riley, 52, will return to teaching at Springfield and will commute to the school each day from Bowling Green, as his wife will continue to teach in Warren County.

During his search for a new job, Riley said it was about finding the right fit for himself and his family. He thinks he has that with the Yellowjackets, which will be a project after finishing 4-20 in 2012-13.

Riley will even have a “basketball period” during the school day that will allow him to get a jump start on his latest endeavor.

“I’ve never been able to do that,” Riley said, laughing. “In some ways, I’ll be home earlier there than I would be if I was at Warren Central. It’s just the right move all around, and I’m definitely re-energized and excited.”

— Zach Greenwell covers prep sports for the Bowling Green Daily News. Follow him at twitter.com/zach_greenwell or visit bgdailynews.com.

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Good luck to Coach Riley. He was shown NO RESPECT by WKU!