One of my favorite people in Catholic education is someone who is not a teacher but rather a boy's basketball coach - Bob Hurley of St. Anthony's High School in Jersey City, NJ. Hurley has coached at St. Anthony's for over 40 years and has over 1,000 career wins. The reason I admire him so much is he pretty much keeps St. Anthony's High School alive. The school is in a tough city and has little resources and money. Hurley runs basketball clinics, gives speeches, anything he can really, and gives every penny to the school. He is only one of two high school basketball coaches in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Hurley is brutal to his players but he has to - they live in precarious situations and he has to get them out of Jersey City and to Division I schools so they succeed outside of their hometown. You may enjoy the book "The Miracle of St. Anthony" which chronicles the 2003-2004 basketball season and academic year.
Each Christmas break, St. Anthony's plays in a basketball tournament in the Boston area. I went a couple of years ago and decided to go again tonight. I went partly because of Hurley but also because of the other schools playing - DeMatha Catholic High School in Maryland (where our boys stay during the March for Life each January), Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey (a Lasallian school I know very well and where we stayed last year on our way back from the March for Life), and Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, MA. DeMatha played CBA and Central Catholic took on St. Anthony's (DeMatha and St. Anthony's won their games). The tournament is held this year at Tufts University and I went down with my son Kevin. It was so neat to see so many Catholic high schools in the tournament, especially the ones I know so well.