NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jack Curran, who spent more than a half century at Archbishop Molloy High School and was among the nation’s winningest prep coaches in basketball and baseball, has died. He was 82.
His death was confirmed Thursday by the Queens school. The family has yet to release further information, the school said.
Curran had been weakened by lung and kidney problems. He broke his kneecap last month when he slipped on ice while on his way to church. The mishap did not prevent him from attending church that day.
Curran coached 55 years at the school. In 1958, he became the basketball coach at what was then St. Ann’s Academy. He succeeded Lou Carnesecca, who left to coach St. John’s.
NBA players Brian Winters, Kevin Joyce, Kenny Smith and Kenny Anderson played under Curran at Archbishop Molloy.
“I lost my favorite coach,mentor and just a great soul Jack Curran you will be missed ,I will have you in my thoughts everyday I live Thank U,” Anderson tweeted Thursday. “I know one thing I was so lucky to attend Archbishop Molloy and play 4 years for a coach like Jack Curran Thank you God!”
He was just as revered on the baseball diamond.
“He loved talking about baseball and was just a great guy,” said Mets outfielder Mike Baxter. “I think in the outside world he was considered legendary and things like that, but I think the guys who knew him and played for him, he was more. He was just selfless and really put the lives of the kids that he had first. I think that’s why he was around forever. It meant everything to him. It’s definitely a sad day.”
Curran won CHSAA Coach of the Year honors 22 times in basketball and 25 times in baseball. Curran was the winningest coach in New York state, with 972 victories in basketball and 1,708 in baseball.
“Those marks will never be broken,” Archbishop Molloy President Richard Karsten told The Associated Press.
He lauded Curran for focusing not just on a player’s athletic ability but on his “mind, body and spirit” as well.
“He was a hard worker and worked his team very hard,” Karsten said. “He had the respect of so many young players and the older players would come back to see him.”
Athletic director Mike McCleary, who worked with Curran for 15 years, said the coach “carried himself with class.”
“He taught everybody how to behave by example,” he said.
Curran is the only high school coach in the New York state Hall of Fame in both basketball and baseball, Karsten said.
Curran, who lived in Rye, N.Y., was a star college athlete at St. John’s who went on to play minor league baseball for the Dodgers and Phillies.
Funeral arrangements were not announced.
Leave your remembrances of Coach Curran in the comments…
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