Former Dodger Draftee Has Coached for 50 Year

In the early 1950s, young Jack Curran's dream was of a diamond. He grew up in the Bronx and became a basketball and baseball star at All Hallows High School before moving on to pitch at St. John's. A 6-foot-3 right-hander who said he had "a fairly good fastball, good curveball and good changeup," Curran was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952 after graduating.

"The Dodgers gave me a $1,500 signing bonus and paid me $300 a month for that season," Curran said.

By 1954, Curran was in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was pitching in the Provincial League on a rainy night in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, when he fractured vertebrae in his back, shattering his hopes for a shot at a big-league career.

The next year, he took a job as a recreation director, and then as a salesman at before moving on to sell building materials.

He 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," he told the New York Times.

Fifty years later, he was honored for his 50 years of service before a basketball game in New York. Entering the game, he was three victories shy of 900 for his career. He needs six in baseball to reach 1,600.

Since arriving at Archbishop Molloy, a perennial power in the Catholic High School Athletic Association, Curran has compiled a two-sport record of 2,491-826, including his 66-65 overtime victory at Xaverian of Brooklyn on the night of the ceremonies.

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's won everything except World War III," Carnesecca said. "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."

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.

"I've been told that the true measure of a coach is the quality of the people he has turned out long after they have left him," he said. "In that regard, I think I measure up pretty good."

The veteran coach is certainly correct in that summation and professional baseball's loss was overshadowed by his stunning efforts.

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