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Saints Perform Miracles

On large screen televisions in living rooms and bars across the United States Wednesday night, sports fans got to learn first-hand about the “Miracle of St. Anthony,” and the Saint who made it all happen – Bob Hurley.

The introduction of Bob (Bob Hurley Wins Best Coach at ESPYS 2017) captured some of the man’s dedication to his players, and his success.  It didn’t capture what he did for the thousands of students who attended St. Anthony High School and didn’t play basketball, which was equally impressive.

We chronicled the plight of the school at the hands of the Newark Archdiocese here (Faith? I Lost Mine Last Week.) a few months ago.  It is widely rumored that the Archdiocese will receive about $15 million for the land St. Anthony’s is built on.  We speculated what might be done with the proceeds.  My bride has a great idea on how a portion should be spent, which I will close with.

Immediately after the Archdiocese decided to shutter the school, Bob Hurley went into a full court press, calling other schools asking them to take his students.  The 140 or so freshmen, sophomores and juniors at St. Anthony will be attending schools like Mater Dei, Roselle Catholic, Ranney, St. Peter’s Prep, Marist, Don Bosco, Immaculate Conception, and Christ the King – all because Bob got on the phone and pitched for his students.  And amazingly, almost all – with a few exceptions – will be charged the same tuition the students paid to attend St. Anthony.

And his coaches are moving on as well…to Perth Amboy, Marist and one out to Sacramento.

What’s next for Bob?  He can’t leave Jersey City.  He’s forming a non-profit organization, cut a deal with the City to rent a gym in downtown Jersey City and start an after school program for kids who need someplace to go to stay off the streets.

“It’s going to be a grass roots thing,” he said.  “I want them to learn how to play, but also have exposure to other sports.  We’ll run some clinics for them, bring in some speakers, provide education about the dangers of drugs…things these kids down here need.”

That’s the real “Miracle of St. Anthony.”  It’s “The Guy” who for almost his entire life – along with his wife Chris – dedicated himself to helping a community…and students…who needed help.

And what was the thanks the Archdiocese gave him?  The day after the last day of school Bob went back to St. Anthony to walk through the halls one more time…and found that the locks had already been changed.

Now to that to that great idea from my bride to the Archdiocese:  take a portion of the $15 million and pay for the high school education of those 140 students who just lost their school…and their Saint.  It’s a small consolation, but for all those students, it will help.

IPZ Board Member Bob Hurley Wins ESPY for Best Coach

Bob Hurley, former St. Anthony basketball coach, honored at ESPY Awards

He isn’t coaching hoops anymore, but the accolades keep on coming for Bob Hurley.

The former head of the storied boys basketball program at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, which closed earlier this year, won the Best Coach Award at the ESPYs Wednesday night.

Hurley, one of two Basketball Hall of Famers who only coached at the high school level, went 1,162-119 and won 28 state titles to go along with four national championships in his 45 seasons running the show at St. Anthony’s.

“It’s really a great honor to be here tonight,” Hurley said during in his acceptance speech. “Getting this award alongside all these iconic coaches, but even more specifically it’s a great honor to be representing all these great coaches.”

He then thanked his family, including his sons, URI head coach Dan Hurley and Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley, who were in attendance, for making what he has always referred to as “the miracle” of St. Anthony’s possible.

“It’s a great honor to be representing all these coaches in the high school ranks,” Bob Hurley said. “Because every athlete that has come up on this stage tonight, no matter what sport they play, each one of them had a coach in high school, junior college, or maybe even before who played a critical role in their development as an athlete and it’s the whole person part that I have always taken a lot of pride in.”

View the original article by Nicholas Parco at the NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/video-bob-hurley-st-anthony-basketball-coach-honored-espys-article-1.3322143

The Ringer: Bob Hurley

St. Anthony’s Unanswered Prayer

Over 45 years, Bob Hurley turned his Jersey City basketball program into an unlikely national power. Now, after 28 state titles and decades of staving off closure, St. Anthony is shutting its doors, and the Friars family is trying to cope with running out of miracles.

A few minutes before 7 on a warm May night in Jersey City, New Jersey, the first of 200 or so guests arrive for what one event organizer calls “the final celebration of life” for the fabled St. Anthony High School basketball team. They climb up the brownstone steps to White Eagle Hall, the old gym about a mile from the school itself, where head coach Bob Hurley’s Friars, who never had a home gym of their own, practiced for the better part of three decades until 2003. As the attendees pull open the mahogany doors and walk into the main hall, they mostly gasp. They remember White Eagle as a dingy, cramped gym, but a $6 million renovation that began in 2012 and concluded this spring has produced an ornate concert venue. During the renovation, a crew wiping away grime on the ceiling discovered two handcrafted, stained-glass murals, and they ripped up the basketball court and refashioned it as bar counters and balcony flooring. Now, the onstage guitarist, sensitive to the occasion, plays only slow, acoustic jazz and blues.

“Well,” a woman says to her friends as they enter the hall, “they turned the temple of basketball into a whorehouse.”

Hurley, red-faced and beaming, hovers near the entrance and greets seemingly all of the former players, parents, boosters, and fans attending the program’s last supper with a deep-throated, “Look what the cat dragged in,” or, “Good to see you,” and a clap on the back or a hug. “We have so many memories in this place,” the Hall of Famer Hurley exclaims when a longtime St. Anthony booster hands him a wooden-framed, black-and-white photo of a former Friars team.

Read the full story here: https://theringer.com/2017-basketball-st-anthony-high-school-closing-bob-hurley-legacy-3bdea1a5f0

Faith? I Lost Mine Last Week.

I was speaking with a good friend Thursday about the Catholic Church. He’s left it. I’m right behind him.

He and his wife gave up when his local parish kept asking for money, and they saw no improvements in their church…the school…or their programs.

Turns out the money was going to settlements the Church had made with victims of abuse by priests.

Then last week the Archdiocese of Newark decided to shut St. Anthony High School in Jersey City.

All St. Anthony’s has done since the 1950’s is provide a great education for students who otherwise can’t afford one…sent all of its students to college for the past 20 years…and been built on the backs of my good friends, Bob and Chris Hurley. Yes, the school and Bob have become legendary in high school basketball circles. But this school is about much, much more than basketball.

Those kids in that accompanying picture are students of St. Anthony High School. Great students. Students who came to a scholarship dinner last week…worked the crowd as well as any high school student I’ve met…and made the people in attendance ask how they can help.

The Archdiocese wanted St. Anthony to have $500,000 in the bank before next school year, and then said it needed the school to increase its enrollment. With stories circulating for a year that the school might be forced to close, how many parents were willing to take the chance to enroll their children in a school that might not be there? That was a clever political ploy by the powers that be in the Archdiocese – powers that wanted St. Anthony shut…but knew the Bob Hurley legend made it a public relations nightmare.

The $500,000 is an interesting number. It matches the cost of the addition on the home of the diocese’s recently retired Archbishop.And by the way. That’s a home with a market value of close to $2 million. He lives there alone.

So what’s more important? An addition with an indoor swimming pool for the retired leader of the Newark Archdiocese? Or a great school for kids who truly need an opportunity in life?

It would appear Newark never got the directive from Pope Francis about taking care of the flock first.

On Bloomberg this week, Joe Nocera wrote the best piece about the issue I had the chance to read.

It’s a view reiterated to me by the Athletic Director at another Catholic High School. Schools need to realize they have to be run as if they are businesses.

But as Nocera points out, the Archdiocese should have been helping Bob Hurley and St. Anthony’s do that. They – when you look at corporate America – are the “corporate entity.”

I wish – for all those great students at St. Anthony High School – that the Pope would take this one personally. The Newark Catholic braintrust has put money…and politics…ahead of the well-being of hundreds of students.

I can’t agree with their decision. And that has me disgusted with the Newark Archdiocese leadership…and therefore, the Catholic church.

Forgive me, Lord, but this one is the straw that broke this camel’s back.

Bob Hurley in SHOWTIME Sports Docuseries

One of our board members is getting his own show. Bob Hurley and the St. Anthony Friars are being followed in a new docuseries presented by SHOWTIME called LEGACY: Bob Hurley. The first of six installments will premiere on Monday, February 20. Want to watch the trailer? All you have to do is press play!