St. Anthony High School, home to one of the most successful programs in high school basketball and an influential program in the development of East Coast players, will close its doors at the end of the school year.
During an effort led by legendary Hall of Fame prep basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr., the Jersey City, New Jersey, school had attempted to raise enough funds over the past several months to stay open another year. In the past, they have been able to scrape enough money to get by, and this year they raised over $1.2 million dollars. But it still doesn’t cover the growing costs.
"After months of consultation with the School's Office of the Archdiocese of Newark, today the Board of Trustees of Saint Anthony High announced it would not be possible for the school to meet the prescribed requirements of the Archdiocese to remain open," the school said in a statement Wednesday. "Accordingly, the school will close at the end of the school year."
In a letter posted on the school's website, Hurley -- now the school's president, in addition to its boy's basketball coach -- pointed to slowing enrollment as the primary reason behind the closing. On Wednesda,y he was a bit more honest about where he thinks the blame lies.
For all of Hurley’s hard work and success in making the Catholic institution the best it can be, he can’t help but blame the deep, dark sins of that same religion for St. Anthony’s plight.
“If the Catholic Church didn’t have so many issues with lawsuits and pilferage over a long period of time, there’s several billion dollars that would have been available to be utilized where it is needed most to do Christian acts,” Hurley told The Daily News. “What happens is places like this are affected.”
It is the end of an era in not only Tri-State basketball, but high school hoops across the country. Gone is another basketball institution that preached values, principles, respect and lifelong goals of success before wins and coddling stars.
In addition to the hundreds of boys that were under his tutelage and are now productive citizens in myriad occupations, from cops to businessmen to pro players and coaches, Hurley proved that his recipe leads to success as he has accumulated over 1,000 wins, eight undefeated seasons, 13 Tournament of Champions titles and 28 state titles in 39 years of coaching.
Hurley's quote are damning and strong words from a coach who devoted his life and his faith to a system that in the end left him and the thousands of children, who have benefited from the safe haven that St. Anthony’s was for so many underserved individuals with potential, out to dry.