Jack Curran, a legendary coach of New York City's Archbishop Molloy High School, died Wednesday at the age of 82.
The former baseball and boys basketball coach of Archbishop Molloy High School for more than 55 years, Curran was the winningest coach in New York state history, with 972 victories in basketball and 1,708 in baseball. He is also the only coach in the New York State Athletic Hall of Fame to be inducted for both basketball and baseball.
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Archbishop Molloy High School confirmed Curran's death on Thursday, without disclosing further details.
ESPN reported that the successful coach suffered from lung and kidney problems. Recently, he broke his kneecap after slipping on a patch of ice on his way to church.
Athletes and coaches who were inspired by the famed coach expressed their respect for Curran.
"He was always like a father figure to me. He was like a father, a grandfather, a mentor, just a great soul," said Kenny Anderson, a former New Jersey Nets point guard who got his start on the Molloy basketball team. "[I] was a 14 [or] 15-year-old from a dysfunctional home, no father, my mother trying to take care of the rent and feed me, and morally I learned so much from Coach Curran. My career would've gone another way if I didn't go to Molloy and find Coach Curran."
Richard Karsten, president at Molloy, told The Associated Press that he built life-long bonds with his players.
"He had the respect of so many young players, and the older players would come back to see him," Karsten said.
Norm Roberts, who got his start as a coach when Curran hired him at Molloy, told the New York Post that Curran
was an excellent role model.
"One thing he did better than any coach I’ve ever been around is he helped more kids that didn’t play for him than did play for him," Roberts, who ended up coaching at St. John's University, said. "I’m talking about athletic scholarships, academic scholarships. You’d walk into his office and he would be on the phone with a college coach somewhere talking about a kid he had seen or a kid he had met."
Molloy's Athletic Director Mike McCleary, who worked with Curran for 15 years, agreed.
"He carried himself with class. He taught everybody how to behave by example," McCleary said.
Details about Curran's surviving relatives were not released.
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