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St. Anthony High School in New Jersey to close

April 5, 2017 / Basketball
One of the nation’s best high school basketball programs has played its last game, as St. Anthony High School (New Jersey) will close at the end of the current academic year.

Bob Hurley Sr. (screenshot via YouTube, Showtime Sports)

The St. Anthony Friars, with Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. at the helm, had established themselves as one of the most accomplished teams in the country. Hurley, who took the coaching job in 1972, has won 28 state titles and eight times finished the season undefeated. In 2010, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and he has been named USA Today National Coach of the Year three times.

More than 200 St. Anthony basketball players have played collegiately, more than 150 of those doing so with a scholarship.

In recent years, lack of funding and declining enrollment had put St. Anthony in a difficult financial position. Hurley, who is also the school’s principal, was initially hopeful St. Anthony could raise enough to stay open at least another year, but the school’s efforts fell short.

St. Anthony issued a press release Wednesday afternoon indicating that the school would officially close on June 30. The incoming class for the fall semester would have only raised the school’s enrollment to 140 students — down from 263 nearly 10 years ago.

“Those of us who have been involved in St. Anthony’s — members of the Board, the staff and faculty, parents, alumni and other supporters — had weathered challenges to continue to remain open in years past,” Hurley said in the news release. “But even with the financial and moral support that we have received, it has become more and more clear that maintaining the school was becoming too difficult. We have decided, then, to look toward the best interests of the students now with us and help them find alternate Catholic school choices for the remainder of their high school years.”

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