A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Fifty Years! Fifty! Years!

This gentleman has coached baseball and basketball at the same New York Catholic high school since 1958.
Jack Curran has been the basketball coach at Archbishop Molloy since he replaced Lou Carnesecca in 1958.

“I was living in West Springfield at the time, selling building materials for a living,” Curran recalled last week. “I read in the paper that Lou Carnesecca, the head basketball and baseball coach at Archbishop Molloy, was leaving for St. John’s. I thought, hey, I know the area and I like coaching and working with young kids, maybe I should look into it.”

Curran got the job, and for the past half-century, he has not had to look for another. Still strolling the sideline at 77, he has won more basketball and baseball games — 2,491 — than any high school coach in the United States.

“He’s won everything except World War III,” Carnesecca said in a telephone interview this week. “No one in the country has Jack’s record in both sports, no one. And along the way, he has become more than just a great coach, he has become one of the great treasures of New York City.”

On Friday, after Archbishop Molloy’s basketball game against visiting St. Francis Prep, Curran will be honored for his 50 years of service to the school. Entering the game, he is three victories shy of 900 for his career. He needs 6 in baseball to reach 1,600.

Throughout the changing seasons, Curran has become as much a fixture in Queens as the Mets, the Lemon Ice King of Corona and the World’s Fair Unisphere.

“As a human being, he’s probably one of the greatest around,” said Kevin Joyce, who played for Curran at Archbishop Molloy. Joyce later played for the Indiana Pacers of the American Basketball Association and is now an institutional sales trader in New York. “As far as coaching goes, I always measured every coach I had after high school against Coach Curran, and none of them ever measured up.”

Since arriving at Archbishop Molloy, a perennial power in the Catholic High School Athletic Association’s AA Division, Curran has compiled a two-sport record of 2,491-826, including Tuesday night’s 66-65 overtime victory at Xaverian of Brooklyn. He has won 5 city championships in basketball and 17 in baseball. And while no other New York City coach has ever won a title in both sports in the same year, Curran has done it four times — in 1969, ’73,’74 and ’87.

He has been inducted into nine Halls of Fame, including the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

Read the whole thing.

What an incredible story! Think of the thousands of lives he has touched, and the success that he has demonstrated repeatedly throughout his career. It's awe-inspiring.

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At 3/16/13, 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Jack Curran was an incredible man, one who comes along once in a lifetime. His status and legacy is one that cannot be measured simply by his enormous success as a coach, but also by the values he instilled in youngsters, values he never wavered on or compromised his entire life. What he gave to the students at Archbishop Molloy, and the people of NYC, was something truly special, something they took with them for life. I am one of them and I thank you for your post. Mr.Curran's passing has left a gaping hole in NYC and it will not be filled.The word icon is tossed around far too easily these days. Mr. Jack Curran will always be an icon, one that will be spoken about in the fondest of terms, one who has left countless people in sorrow today yet still able to smile at the mere thought of him.

Tom S. NY


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