On large screen televisions in living rooms and bars across the United States Wednesday night, sports fans got to learn first-hand about the “Miracle of St. Anthony,” and the Saint who made it all happen – Bob Hurley.
The introduction of Bob (Bob Hurley Wins Best Coach at ESPYS 2017) captured some of the man’s dedication to his players, and his success. It didn’t capture what he did for the thousands of students who attended St. Anthony High School and didn’t play basketball, which was equally impressive.
We chronicled the plight of the school at the hands of the Newark Archdiocese here (Faith? I Lost Mine Last Week.) a few months ago. It is widely rumored that the Archdiocese will receive about $15 million for the land St. Anthony’s is built on. We speculated what might be done with the proceeds. My bride has a great idea on how a portion should be spent, which I will close with.
Immediately after the Archdiocese decided to shutter the school, Bob Hurley went into a full court press, calling other schools asking them to take his students. The 140 or so freshmen, sophomores and juniors at St. Anthony will be attending schools like Mater Dei, Roselle Catholic, Ranney, St. Peter’s Prep, Marist, Don Bosco, Immaculate Conception, and Christ the King – all because Bob got on the phone and pitched for his students. And amazingly, almost all – with a few exceptions – will be charged the same tuition the students paid to attend St. Anthony.
And his coaches are moving on as well…to Perth Amboy, Marist and one out to Sacramento.
What’s next for Bob? He can’t leave Jersey City. He’s forming a non-profit organization, cut a deal with the City to rent a gym in downtown Jersey City and start an after school program for kids who need someplace to go to stay off the streets.
“It’s going to be a grass roots thing,” he said. “I want them to learn how to play, but also have exposure to other sports. We’ll run some clinics for them, bring in some speakers, provide education about the dangers of drugs…things these kids down here need.”
That’s the real “Miracle of St. Anthony.” It’s “The Guy” who for almost his entire life – along with his wife Chris – dedicated himself to helping a community…and students…who needed help.
And what was the thanks the Archdiocese gave him? The day after the last day of school Bob went back to St. Anthony to walk through the halls one more time…and found that the locks had already been changed.
Now to that to that great idea from my bride to the Archdiocese: take a portion of the $15 million and pay for the high school education of those 140 students who just lost their school…and their Saint. It’s a small consolation, but for all those students, it will help.
Posted by Bob Zito on 7/13/2017
Related: Faith? I Lost Mine Last Week.