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Curran remembered by basketball world at his funeral

TimesLedger Newspapers

Hundreds turned out to say a final goodbye Wednesday to legendary Archbishop Molloy coach Jack Curran.

Family, former players, colleagues and friends filled the Church of the Resurrection near his home in Rye, N.Y. for Curran’s funeral mass. The Bronx native died in his sleep March 14 at the age of 82 after coaching baseball and basketball for 55 years at Molloy. He is survived by three nephews and two nieces.

Those in attendance called it a day of sadness, but also one to celebrate the man’s influential life.

“It’s mixed emotions, up and down,” said former Nets guard Kenny Anderson, who played for Curran. “When I go through those memories I had at Molloy and with Coach Curran it’s sad. Then there are great times. He lived his life. He’s in a better place.”

Anderson served as a pallbearer along with former players Kevin Joyce, Matt Rizzotti and others. Curran’s current basketball and baseball teams sat near the front of the church and paralyzed Molloy soccer and hoops standout Justin Thompson was also there.

Other people at the funeral included legendary St. John’s University coach Lou Carnesecca, who Curran took over from at Molloy. Former players Brian Winters and John Carey, now the basketball coach at Curran’s alma mater, All Hallows, were also there. CHSAA hoops coaches Tim Leary, Jack Alesi, and Tom Fraher along with officials Ray Nash and Paul Gilvary also paid their respects.

Curran’s nephew Andrew, former Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins and former Houston Rocket guard Kenny Smith, eulogized Curran. Smith got choked up at one point speaking about naming his 5-year-old son Molloy as a way to honor Curran.

“He was a person who not only coached, he guided you, he influenced you, he reprimanded you, just like a family [member] does,” Smith said afterwards. “He was in my family. I consider myself one of the Curran tribe.”

Andrew Curran described his uncle as a man deeply immersed in faith, family and friends He listed a number of ordinary people Curran considered extraordinary because they loved what they did and did it well, from doctors to his nurse Nanny and the local vendor named Gus, who made the best hot dog in town.

“He believed that people were meant to excel at different things and that no one, no task was more important than the other,” Andrew Curran said. “He couldn’t understand why people didn’t find value in the place they were meant to be.”

For Curran that place was Archbishop Molloy. There he collected more combined baseball and basketball wins (2,680) than any coach in the state, 22 combined city titles and 47 total Coach of the Year awards.

“We have to rejoice. We had him all those years and the wonderful influence he had and all the people he was involved with,” Carnesecca said. “He was a fixture not only in New York, but all over.”

The day marked an end to an emotional week for the Molloy family and all those who knew Curran.

“My last week has been a little bit topsy-turvy,” Smith said. “I really wasn’t myself. I think being here, seeing everyone and seeing him, closing it out gives some closure to it.”

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