Word came this week that St. Anthony’s High School in Jersey City, NJ was closing at the end of the academic year. That decision puts an end to one of the country's most successful and revered high school basketball programs led by Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr.
The Archdiocese of Newark has determined fundraising efforts would not be able to keep the doors open for another year.
Bob Hurley's team won 28 state championships and several national championships. He was one of the first guests on SportsJam with Doug Doyle in April of 2008. The Hall of Famer talked candidly in his office about why he decided not to leave the high school coaching ranks for the college game. His program which had already achieved legendary status and he was thinking about coaching another five years at that time.
"My instincts for making decisions in Jersey City based on my experience here gives me an advantage in working with the kids. The longer you are in one place, the comfortable you are. There are certainly things that keep me at the school that money wouldn't replace. Everybody likes to be needed. The kids at this school...they're kids with talent but they need direction, they need advice, they need some parenting, they need mentoring and we as coaches are happy to fill in those spots because the talent the kids possess and the potential they have is intriguing."
Hurley and his family have always loved Jersey City.
"We've lived here all our lives, you know we are clearly city people, we enjoy the diversions of going to other places but we always look forward to coming home again because it's a town with a lot of very good qualities."
Hurley arrived at St. Anthony's in 1972, 20 years after the school opened. The past three years he not only served as the head basketball coach but he was also the high school's president. He spent much of his time leading the fundraising efforts to keep the doors open.
The 69-year-old Hurley was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. His two famous sons, Bobby and Danny, are currently coaches at Arizona State and Rhode Island, respectively. Bobby was a star guard at Duke University while Danny had a solid career at Seton Hall University.
Bobby nearly lost his life in a horrific automobile accident in 1993 during his rookie season in the NBA. Bobby recovered from his injuries but it ended an anticipated long professional career. During the 2008 interview, Bob, talked about how the family dealt with that dreadful day.
"It was just one of those life altering experiences that the Hurley family survived and Bobby was able to go on with his life, and we're blessed that he survived that. I think we've always been a close family, butI if anything we wound up huddling a little closer and appreciating each other a little bit more because we almost lost one of our children which an absolutely frightening thing."
Hurley also talked about why he loves coaching.
"People talk about dedication, they also have to realize how inspired you can be by working with young people and how a day doesn't go by that something doesn't happen that really motivates me and shows me about the potential that I'm around. And it's a great responsibility when you have that opportunity to try to give them everything you can because you realize so much can be made of these young people if they're made to believe in themselves and taught to work hard and to set some goals. That's kind of what we've try to do and I've been on a great ride. "
Click above to hear the entire SportsJam interview with Bob Hurley.