No, if the Archbishop Molloy baseball and basketball coach had his way, there would be a basketball tripleheader, just like any other Friday night at the Briarwood school, there would be some handshakes and laughter with some friends and alums in his office and then a ride back to Rye. With few exceptions, that's been Curran's routine. For 50 years. But this Friday is different. This Friday, the school will honor Curran for 50 years of service, as a baseball coach, a basketball coach, a mentor and a friend. "He's the standard by which New York City high school coaches are judged," said recruiting guru Tom Konchalski. "I don't think there's anyone who's meant more to the Catholic league than Jack Curran."And Konchalski should know. He first met Curran in 1960 and attended the second basketball game Curran coached at Molloy.Konchalski, whose brother Steve was on one of Curran's first teams, remembers it as if it were yesterday. Alumni Night, 1958, the day before Thanksgiving. Curran was selling building materials in western Massachusetts when he read a small article that said Lou Carnesecca, who would go onto be a legendary coach himself, had left St. Ann's, the school on 78th and Lexington Ave., which would later be called Molloy when it moved to Briarwood, to become an assistant at St. John's. Curran, who coached CYO basketball and semi-pro baseball, called LIU coach Clair Bee, the man responsible for the invention of the shot clock and the 1-3-1 zone defense, for advice."He said 'Why don't you go down and get that job?'" Curran said.Curran did. He said he was offered $4,500 a year, $4,000 to teach and another $500 to coach, although he negotiated to get $500 each for baseball and basketball.He's coached both sports at Molloy since then. And still, at the age of 76, he hits fungos for infield practice before every game and calls signals from the third-base coaching box.Curran is five wins away from 900 in his illustrious basketball coaching career, which has seen him win five CHSAA city championships and send seven players to the NBA. As for baseball, he has more than 1,300 wins and 17 city titles. He's in seven different halls of fame and last year was named as the inaugural recipient of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award.Just once was Curran nearly lured to the college ranks, when Bob Cousy, a St. Albans native and former Andrew Jackson High standout, left Boston College in 1969.With his mother ill and the Stanners in the playoffs again, the timing wasn't right for Curran, who turned down the job that was eventually accepted by Chuck Daly.Curran doesn't want the attention, although it's so richly deserved. On Friday, the gym that bears his name will again be packed for another tripleheader against St. Francis Prep. The wooden bleachers will be filled with former players spanning all of Curran's five decades there. That, more than anything, will make Curran happy. Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at news@times
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