Jack Curran funeral: Legendary Archbishop Molloy coach gets last farewell

Archbishop Molloy High School students attend the funeral Archbishop Molloy High School students attend the funeral for legendary baseball and basketball coach Jack Curran, right, at Church of the Resurrection in Rye. (March 20, 2013) Photo Credit: Richard Harbus and Newsday file

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Legendary Archbishop Molloy High School coach Jack Curran did more than win thousands of games -- he also helped develop countless quality young men, said those who eulogized him at his funeral Wednesday in Rye.

Curran, who suffered from lung and kidney problems, died March 14 at his Rye home. He was 82.

About 200 people -- including two busloads of students from his Briarwood, Queens, school -- attended the funeral at the Church of the Resurrection. Curran's casket was carried into the church while two men wearing Scottish kilts played bagpipes.

One of the winningest two-sport coaches in U.S. history, Curran spent 55 years at Archbishop Molloy. He racked up remarkable records in both basketball (972-437) and baseball (1,708-523), winning five city championships in basketball and 17 in baseball.

Curran is the only coach to capture city titles in both sports during the same season, and he accomplished that feat four times -- in 1969, 1973, 1974 and 1987. His former players include 1972 Olympian Kevin Joyce, former Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Brian Winters, former Houston Rockets standout Kenny Smith, ex-Celtic Kenny Anderson, Louisville star Russ Smith and Mets outfielder Mike Baxter.

Despite breaking his kneecap in a February fall, Curran had planned to coach baseball again this spring at Molloy.

Curran never married and had no children, but Smith said he and many other players considered him to be a father figure.

"Jack Curran taught me to be a great basketball player, a great dad and a great person," said Smith, who recalled rides home from practice with Curran.

Instilling discipline in his athletes and helping the poor were important to the coach, Smith noted.

"He helped so many people, and he did so many great things while he was with us on Earth," said former St. John's basketball coach Lou Carnesecca, who considered himself Curran's best friend.

Joyce, Winters, Anderson and former Georgia Tech basketball coach Bobby Cremins also were among those in attendance.

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