Jack Curran, the Archbishop Molloy High School basketball and baseball coach for 55 years whose lineups included National Basketball Association players Kenny Smith and Kenny Anderson, has died. He was 82.
Curran died in his sleep yesterday morning, the school, based in the Briarwood section of Queens, New York, said in a news release on its website, without citing the cause of death. He had been weakened by lung and kidney problems, undergoing dialysis three days a week in recent years, though he rarely missed practice or games, the Associated Press reported.
Curran won 2,680 games in the two sports, more victories than any other coach in New York high school history, the school said.
“Coach Curran built a legacy that transcends any traditional notion of coaching high school athletics,” Richard Karsten, the school’s president, said in a statement. “To him it was always about the kids. They were the reason for his success. His passing will not only be felt by today’s students, faculty and staff, but generations going back over 50 years.”
After a back injury ended his career, he applied for the Archbishop Molloy coaching jobs in 1958 when Lou Carnesecca left to become basketball coach at St. John’s.
Curran posted a 1,708-523 record coaching the varsity baseball team, winning 17 Catholic High School Athletic Association titles. His varsity basketball teams went 972-437, claiming five league championships. He was chosen the league’s coach of the year 25 times in baseball and 22 in basketball.
“He’s won everything except World War III,” Carnesecca said, according to the New York Times in 2008. “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 greatest treasures of New York City.”
NBA players to play under Curran included Smith, Anderson, Kevin Joyce and Brian Winters. Current New York Mets outfielder Mike Baxter was among Curran’s baseball players.
“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 said in a Twitter post today.
Smith, also on Twitter, called Curran “one of the most influential men in my life!”
Funeral plans weren’t immediately available, the school said.
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