Over the last decade, Bob Hurley has received his share of Hall of Fame honors, most notably the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction he enjoyed in Springfield two summers ago.
Last Saturday night, Hurley received yet another Hall of Fame induction, this time gaining induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark.
The legendary St. Anthony basketball coach was inducted along with such historic people as late cowgirl legend Annie Oakley, Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas, late actor Christopher Reeve, late New York Giants owner Wellington Mara, late jazz singer Sarah Vaughn, author Joyce Carol Oates, and two-time Olympic decathlon winner Milt Campbell.
This was an award that was not just for sports people. This obviously included every spectrum of life, so this was a totally different honor for Hurley.
“This was outside of the family business,” Hurley said. “Somehow I fit into the accomplishments of all these amazing people. I mean, it took three years for them to induct Woodrow Wilson and I got in with the fifth year. Can you figure that out? Sarah Vaughn and my name don’t exactly roll off the tongue together. I don’t have much in common with Michael Douglas. I really don’t have much of a connection with him, other than I’ve seen most of his movies.”
But Hurley was moved by the induction.
“It’s wonderful that a high school basketball coach in the state of New Jersey could somehow get figured into that mix,” Hurley said.
Hurley was presented by former Seton Hall head coach and current Brooklyn Nets assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo, currently a Jersey City resident like Hurley.
Carlesimo told the audience at the NJPAC that Hurley “has never left the state of New Jersey. He was born here, raised here and chose to stay here. I don’t know if any other member of the New Jersey Hall of Fame has meant more to New Jersey than Bob Hurley.”
“I like living here,” Hurley said. “And I defend New Jersey as much as I can.”
Hurley was happy to see many of his former players in attendance, guys who played for him ages ago like John Rochford, Jarrett King, Darren Rice and a guard named David Rivers, who went from St. Anthony to Notre Dame to becoming the first former Friar to play in the NBA.
Rivers, who had a two-decade professional career playing in Europe, made sure he was in attendance to honor his former coach.
“It’s the ultimate honor for him and I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” said Rivers, who still has homes in Italy and Orlando. “I’m happy to see him, but I’m also happy to see some old familiar faces, some of my old teammates.”
Rivers, a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, now does basketball consulting with his firm, VillageCamps.com.
“We do everything from language arts and performing arts,” Rivers said. “It’s not just sports, but we do every sport you can think of. We’re working with kids all around the world.”
Rivers said that growing up in Jersey City and playing basketball was “like a sanctuary.”
“We were all safe and taken care of,” Rivers said. “I have nothing but great memories, with Coach Hurley right in the center of those.”
Former Friar standout Jerry Walker, who had a great career at Seton Hall, was also on hand.
“This is a tremendous honor for Coach Hurley,” Walker said. “You see some of the names on this list and then you see Coach Hurley with them, well, that’s amazing. Coach Hurley meant so much to me growing up, as a coach, as a father figure. I had my success because he was such a demanding man on me. This is a wonderful experience.”
Walker’s experience improved immensely when he was able to meet famed astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a 2007 New Jersey Hall of Fame inductee.
“I had to meet him and shake his hand,” Walker said. “I mean, that guy’s been on the moon. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there.”
Needless to say it was a memorable evening for all who attended, including the latest inductee from Jersey City.
“I’ve gone to the event the last two years, but this was special,” Hurley said. “It’s safe to say we’re done with Hall of Fame inductions. I can plan things to do with my free time now because I don’t think there are any more left.”…
Speaking of St. Anthony, the school announced that former Hoboken basketball and baseball coach Buddy Matthews has been named as the new athletic director, replacing Sean Fallon, who remains on as the football coach.
Matthews, who coached the St. Anthony girls’ basketball team last year, retired last year from the Hoboken school district. It means that St. Anthony has a Hoboken flavor to it, with principal Charlie Tortorella and Matthews….
Hoboken lost a true legend when Joseph Feinstein, the ace pitcher for the 1945 Demarest High School team that captured the school’s first-ever county baseball championship, passed away last week. Feinstein was featured in a reunion piece here in the Hudson Reporter a few years ago on the 60th anniversary of that great championship season…
Sartonk Designs, headed by Weehawken’s Edward Majian, has earned a recent reputation for creating championship boxing belts for many of the organizations. Sartonk Designs recently made a new belt to help historic Gleason’s Gym celebrate their 75th anniversary…
The 8th Annual Weehawken Open golf outing will take place Aug. 9 at the Wild Turkey Golf Club at the Crystal Golf Resort in Hardyston in Sussex County. The tourney benefits the Weehawken Volunteer First Aid Squad. For more information or to register please call (201) 773-7614 or register on line at http://golf.wvfas.org...
Rutgers-Newark will hold its 11th Annual Summer Basketball Camps for children ages 7-17. There are camps set for the weeks of July 9-13, July 23-July 27, and July 30-August 3. There are early drop off and late pick up times available, as well as discount rates for campers who attend two or more sessions. For more information/brochure call Joe Loughran at (973) 353-1483….—Jim Hague.
Jim Hague can be reached at OGSMAR@aol.com.