By: Janet Thompson Hilliman
It was with such a great sense of pride when Bobby Hurley Jr was presented by his daughter at the Dan Finn Classic at the New Jersey City University last month. You could say he is used to the spotlight being a former NBA player and all. He graciously accepted his induction into the Hall of Fame of the annual event, another one of Jersey City’s sons to join the ranks. He said a few words then exited “stage left.” I guess he knew the show belonged to his dad; that the overcrowded gym was there to see his high school alma mater. The Friars of St Anthony’s, the nationally ranked #1 basketball program in the nation was getting ready to take on the Marauders of St Peter’s Prep, their neighbors and rival from across town.
One would say Bobby Jr had to be used to it. As a high school athlete he played for his “Dad-coach” or “Coach-dad.” He used to average 20 points a game, 8 assists, 3 steals in his senior year. He also led his team to four back-to-back Parochial B State titles as a point guard. He went on to Duke University and was named first team All American. He also made 3 appearances in the Final Four, won 2 National Championship and was a MVP. When his collegiate career ended he was the 7th pick in the 1993 NBA draft selected by the Sacramento Kings. His NBA career almost ended abruptly due to an automobile accident but he was able to defy the odds and return to the game that he loved. When he retired from the NBA, he took up thoroughbred racing, something else that he also loves.
Just last April, he joined his younger brother Dan as an Asst Coach at Wagner College. Bobby Jr was an athlete with great work ethics and this should come as no surprise. He is the son of one of the hardest working coaches in the game, the man who all eyes are on right now. Coach Bob Hurley is a man who is very big on “loyalty, commitment and values.” He stresses hard work and determination to his group of young men that he coaches year after year. He pushes his team hard, that’s why they are champions and that’s why he’s a winner. His 24th State Championship, having won one last week is enough to prove it. As a matter of fact he has 1000 wins, one of the few high school coaches who can boast of such an accomplishment. This past Sunday he was the feature on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” Everyone got a chance to see, the family man whose passion is his sport, his school and his city.
Talk about a legacy! Coach Hurley, the father has coached for 39 years and has had 23 of his former athletes playing in the NCAA and five of his athletes played in this basketball tournament. This Hall of Famer is a legend especially in the city where he was born and raised- Jersey City, where he used to work as a probation officer. His love for the kids and his love for his city keep him going. His whole heart is in what he does- that’s the Hurley Factor.
Coach Hurley’s other son Dan played basketball close to home several miles away at Seton Hall after high school. He went on to become an Asst Coach to his father at St Ant’s, then at Rutgers University briefly. His next stop was at St Benedict’s in Newark, another New Jersey powerhouse basketball program where that Hurley Factor was in full effect again. Dan built that program making it one of the nation’s top basketball schools.
Dan took up position as Head Coach at Wagner College in Staten Island, a Division 1 program in April of last year. With basketball in his DNA and a support system combined in a plethora of experiences, as we know “the chip never falls too far from the block.” They are a family of champions who are used to winning. Wagner has seen an eight win improvement already this season; not bad for a first year head coach.
There is something about that Hurley Factor that started in Jersey City, which has spread beyond the city limits and across the nation. Once again it is in full effect.