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Molloy coaching legend Curran still strong at 82

Molloy High School Coach Jack Curran speaks to his team during a game. Photo by Ken Maldonado
TimesLedger Newspapers

C.J. Davis understands how hard it is for legendary Archbishop Molloy Coach Jack Curran to still put the time and effort he does into coaching. The 82-year-old Curran, starting his 55th season on the bench, has been going for dialysis three days a week for the last two seasons and underwent CyberKnife radiation earlier this fall when a 5-centimeter cancerous tumor was found on his lung in July.

“It shows great determination,” said Davis, a junior guard. “I know if somebody was that sick they wouldn’t be here. You can tell he is a tough guy.”

Curran said he wants to stay active. He was at baseball workouts over the summer and has been with the boys’ basketball team since the season began in early November. Curran is used to the effect of the dialysis treatments and called the radiation a pain in the neck.

“Just an inconvenience,” he said.

Despite his health issues, Curran, who has slowed down physically, still coaches with the same fire, sharpness and wisdom. He will find out in two months whether the radiation treatments were successful.

In the Stanners’ 81-51 season opening win over James Monroe Saturday night, he got on the referees for what he thought was an illegal screen. He is in assistant Coaches Fran Leary and Mike McCleary’s ears after most plays talking about what he sees.

“I think that he hasn’t lost step,” McCleary said.

Later in the game Curran instructs senior center Marko Kozul to shore up his weak side defense and yelled at a reserve for rushing into the game without checking in at the scorer’s table. He pointed at it and yelled “Yo,” his voice still cutting through the crowd. Not much has changed.

“Same guy,” Kozul said. “Cracks jokes, always at practice on time. He yells. You can’t tell he’s been sick.”

Curran, one of the winningest coaches in the nation for basketball and baseball, said he never imagined he would still be coaching. He feels lucky that his health is still good enough to allow him to do so and couldn’t imagine staying home.

“It’s much better,” he said of coaching. “If I stay home, you think about what you got. You got to keep busy.”

The current Molloy roster will help do that. It is one of interchangeable parts and athleticism. Davis and Kozul, who combined for 38 points against Monroe, are the marquee players. Guards Christian Giles and Chaz Watler can provide added scoring and defense. The 6-foot-4 Justin Brown is a strong presence in the paint.

“We’ve got about 10 guys we can use,” Curran said.

The one person who can’t be replaced is Curran. McCleary said during the week his players all stop by to see him in his office during and after school for a talk. They energize him and he inspires them.

“That gives us a big boost,” Davis said of seeing Curran fight his aliments. “If he is here for us, we definitely should be here for him.”

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