The renowned St. Anthony High School basketball program apparently has played its last game.
The Archdiocese of Newark decided Wednesday to close the Jersey City school at the end of this school year after years of funding issues, NJ.com reported. Principal and basketball coach Bob Hurley, who has coached at the school for 45 years, informed the school's faculty of the news Wednesday afternoon.
St. Anthony has name recognition nationally thanks to the teams Hurley fielded over the years. He led the Friars to four national titles and 28 state championships — including nine in a row from 1983-91. St. Anthony went 32-0 as recently as 2015-16. Hurley, 69, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Dozens of St. Anthony players moved on to Division I programs, including Hurley's sons Bobby (Duke) and Dan (Seton Hall), both of whom are now college head coaches.
Dan Hurley wrote a last-ditch plea to save the school earlier this week for NJ.com.
"Playing for St. Anthony was like being a college basketball player in high school — we felt like 17-year-olds playing for Duke or UCLA," Hurley wrote. "We were always high in the national rankings. Everywhere we went, people came to see this legendary coach and this legendary program."
That was indeed the case, for decades, but that era ended Wednesday.