Looking at Bob Hurley’s coaching resume – more than 900 wins, 23 state championships, three USA Today National and induction to the Basketball Hall of Fame this summer – it’s clear he is worthy of being the focus of a basketball documentary.
But those stats only give a glimpse into what makes Hurley special.
He is one of most respected coaches in the history of high school basketball, yet he’s passed on opportunities to coach in the NCAA or NBA. Why? Because he knows his place is in Jersey City helping kids in that neighborhood escape to play college basketball.
The stats on his players who have gone on to attend college are nothing short of staggering: Hurley has sent all but two of the hundred’s of players he has coached to college during the 35 years he has coached at St. Anthony’s. Of that total, more than 150 players have received college scholarships.
Sure, the coaching resume above grabs your attention and is a big reason why he is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer, but the fact only two of his players have failed to attend college is the most impressive stat in my mind.
Needless to say when I found out I wouldn’t be able to The Street Stops Here on PBS due to limitations set out by the CRTC I was steamed.
However, thanks to the fine folks over at TeamWorks Media, I was sent a DVD of the press screener last week.
The movie stats with a bang as the director shows Hurley kicking players out of the gym, telling local kids they can’t enter until his practice is over and then he lets loose with an explicit filled rant to his players.
The documentary provides a riveting portrait of one o the most successful basketball coaches at any level, Hurley Sr., and his career-long struggle to inspire and motivate his young players. All this while trying to fundraise enough money to keep the doors of his high school open after government funding has all but dried up.
The backdrop of the movie is captivating yet agonizing as it weaves together stories of his players fighting to get out of underprivileged neighborhoods, failed attempts at fundraising amidst the collapse of Wall Street and Hurley’s relentless attempts to mold these boys into men.
One of the best parts of watching this movie is the knowledge cameras have never captured the St. Anthony’s story from the inside to this magnitude. The camera crew filming this documentary were granted unlimited access and unfiltered access to Hurley’s St. Anthony basketball program and had cameras at every step of their journey toward their third USA Today National Championship.
From September 2007 through April 2008, the film crews captured more than 400 hours of high definition footage of the lives of Hurley and his players both on and off the court, showing Hurley’s influence in transforming his young players’ lives.
Every rant from Hurley was filmed. Each time a player messed up and risked their standing with their team was filmed. In no way is this a fluff piece where Hurley and his players get by with only pats on the back – all the highs and the lows of their season were documented in this riveting documentary.
Hurley is known as an uncompromising teacher who demands perfection from kids who’ve known little discipline growing up on the streets of Jersey City. His methodical, yet volatile style works miracles and makes for some riveting storylines and footage.
Without giving away too much of the documentary, his hard work pays off as members of the 2007-08 team featured in The Street Stops Here that are currently playing in the NCAA include Mike Rosario (Rutgers), Tyshawn Tayler (Kansas), Travon Woodall (Pittsburgh), Jio Fontan (USC) and Dominic Cheek (Villanova).
Re-read that list of players. How many high school programs across the country can lay claim to having that many players involved with so many high-level programs?
Throw in the fact that Hurley places just as high an emphasis on players graduating and maturing off the court and it’s a testament to the kind of coach and teacher he is.
DVDs are available at www.TheStreetStopsHereMovie.com or also on iTunes. 10% of proceeds will be donated to St. Anthony High School.