By SETH STRINGER
Forgive the pun, but it was an offer Rory Kuhn couldn't refuse.
From his accent to his charm to his tell-it-to-you-straight demeanor, the 36-year-old is a New Yorker through and through. And what's more New York than St. John's University and the Big East?
Following a transcendent four-year run for the NWF State men's basketball team, Steve DeMeo's right-hand man has accepted an assistant coaching position with the Red Storm women's basketball team.
"Being from New York, St. John's is New York and the Big East is New York," Kuhn said. "That's home for me. My whole family's there. My girlfriend's there. It's 45 minutes from where I grew up. It was a no-brainer."
Joining head coach Steve DeMeo in 2013, Kuhn was a part of a stretch where the Raiders finished 111-19 and won a national title in 2015.
But he was so much more than a brilliant in-game coach.
He was a master recruiter and a voice for the players, a fixture on campus who was loved by professors, the administration and media for his outgoing personality.
But most importantly he was a great basketball mind, mentoring Division I guards and establishing himself as the right-hand man to DeMeo.
"He could do it all," DeMeo said. "He oversaw a lot of the academic support, he was a great coach on the floor, he was instrumental in our recruiting and he was phenomenal in dealing with players and their emotional issues. He really got them to buy in."
And the coaching staff, which included now-departed Jake Williams, had a lot of fun.
"He's a great coach and a great friend," DeMeo said. "When he told me about the job, I didn't think twice about it being a great opportunity for him. Obviously our bond will last long after this."
The pair joined for a Panhandle Conference title three-peat from 2014-2017, two Region 8 crowns, a national title, two Final Fours and three Elite Eights.
The worst season for the Raiders in those four years? 22-6.
"It is sad to leave," Kuhn said. "This place felt like home to be honest with you. Being here for four years and the things we accomplished, I loved my time here."
DeMeo, who lost Jake Williams to South Carolina Salkehatchie earlier in the offseason and Grant McMillan to Panola College in 2015, understands the assistant coach job at NWF State is a stepping stone to bigger opportunities.
"When you make the sacrifices he's made, he deserves all the opportunities that will lead toward a lifetime of success," DeMeo said.
As for Kuhn's goals at St. John's, they remain the same as NWF State
"Hopefully I go up there and do exactly what we did down here," he said. "National championship ... who knows? It'll be an exciting challenge and I'm looking forward to it."
He'll also keep an eye on NWF State, which has Adam Sweeney and Brannan Anthony to share his departed role.
"We already have the team in place and I really like this group," Kuhn said. "That's the hard part of it, leaving a group as talented as this. I'll definitely be watching."
As for Sweeney and Anthony, DeMeo said he thinks both will deliver "a renewed interest to the program."
"Both have been with me since the summer, so both are capable of splitting the job," DeMeo said. "It'll be more responsibility, but both are ready for the chances that this will bring."