Hurley makes plans for homecoming St. Benedict’s head coach with local roots will lead his team in new tourney

Danny Hurley fondly remembers his high school days playing for his father, Bob, at St. Anthony High School, before he went on to Seton Hall to play and then later became a successful coach, now at St. Benedict’s Prep of Newark.

So when the chance came for Hurley’s St. Benedict’s team to play in a top-flight tournament in his old stomping grounds, the young coach jumped at the chance.

“It’s very exciting for us to play in Jersey City,” Danny Hurley said at a recent press conference to promote the Scholarship Basketball Festival, which will be held at St. Peter’s College’s Yanitelli Center on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2004.

“The city has changed a lot since I played there, but the memories will always stay the same,” said Hurley, whose team will face Hudson Catholic in the third game of the tripleheader that day. “Whenever I can bring my program to be around the other top programs in the state, like St. Anthony, St. Patrick’s [Elizabeth] and Seton Hall Prep, I’m all for it. It’s a great thing to be involved with.”

Hurley said that he will take St. Benedict’s all over the map this season, to places like Salt Lake City, Orlando, Virginia and Boston.

“But the game we’re looking forward more than any other is the festival,” Hurley said. “In the eyes of our players, playing in our own state, in what is a talent showcase, a regular who’s who of New Jersey basketball, this is a great opportunity.”

St. Anthony will play Christian Brothers Academy in the first game of the one-day tripleheader at 1:30 p.m., with St. Patrick’s and Seton Hall Prep locking horns in the middle game and Hurley’s St. Benedict’s team tangling with Hudson Catholic in the finale.

The Festival, organized by the Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, will be held in an attempt to help the SFIC raise funds to assist low-income families send their children to Parochial schools in Essex, Hudson, Union and Bergen Counties.

Since its inception in 1983, the SFIC has raised more than $19 million, providing more than 35,000 scholarships. This is the first athletic fundraiser by the group.

Tickets for the event are already on sale and can be purchased online by visiting the event’s website,

When Danny Hurley was a player, he graced the floor at SPC several times, including several showdowns with CBA, as well as many state playoff showdowns.

“I have some great memories from those days,” Hurley said. “The Skyline Classic (a national tournament to open the season, featuring St. Anthony) was big then. That was a great tournament. I loved playing there.”

In fact, Danny Hurley’s first big high school moment took place on the floor at Yanitelli Center. As a little-used freshman on a great St. Anthony team, Hurley threw in a shot from beyond mid-court, some 55 feet, to end the HCIAA championship victory over Emerson – the final year that St. Anthony played in the league.

“That shot gets further and further over the years,” Hurley laughed. “Some people think I might have thrown it in from out of bounds. It was a great moment.”

Hurley said that he used to thrive on playing in front of the big crowds at Yanitelli Center.

“There were always some interesting times for me and St. Anthony back then,” said Hurley, who led the Friars to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions title in 1991, then had a fine career at Seton Hall University. “I haven’t been back there, except to see St. Anthony play a few times. But going back is going to bring back a lot of the great memories from high school. It’s a great thing for us to be involved. It’s also a great cause, because a lot of kids don’t get a chance to go to a good school without the scholarships.”

Added Hurley, “I think these events are now huge, because people get excited about them. We have a great state for high school basketball. As a coach, I want our program to be involved with an event like this. Any time you can get together with these other great programs, with all their history and tradition, it’s great.”

However, will there ever be a day where the younger Hurley will lock horns with his legendary father?

“No, that can’t happen,” Dan Hurley said. “It almost happened during the Metro Classic [a summer tournament at Seton Hall], but before that could happen, we kept about six kids home so we would lose and not have to face my dad. That would cause too many problems.”

But it will be a fun day with all the Hurleys in the gym at the same time for a basketball festival, a homecoming for Danny Hurley.


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group