JERSEY CITY, N.J. – There was a time in Bob Hurley's high school coaching career when he never could have dreamed he would reach 1,000 wins.
He almost walked away from the high school level in 1983 to take a job as a college assistant, but changed his mind. He almost retired in 2005, but eventually had a change of heart.
Hurley stuck around at St. Anthony High School and earned the 1,000th win of his career Wednesday with a 76-46 victory over neighboring rival St. Mary.
"It's a number you can only reach after you're doing it for a very long time," said Hurley, who became the fifth high school coach in the country to reach the milestone.
"And it's a very long time. You need to have a family that can support your passion for the sport. You need very talented players. You need assistant coaches who are there all the time and a school administration that cares about the kids. You need to have that balance."
Myles Mack, Kyle Anderson and Jerome Frink scored 12 points each for the Friars (16-0), ranked as high as No. 2 in some national polls.
Hurley, who has been the head coach at St. Anthony since 1972, has a career record of 1,000-110. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame last year.
Hurley is the career leader in coaching victories in New Jersey schoolboy history. Robert Hughes of Fort Worth Dunbar, in Texas, is the nation's all-time leader with 1,333 wins.
"I honestly thought that the 1,000th was not attainable," Hurley said. "I almost walked away in 2005 because I was stressed with doing the day-to-day stuff at my job (as the director of recreation in Jersey City). As much as I loved being a coach, the days were filled with stress and it was hard to come to practice."
But Hurley retired from the recreation position two years ago and it's given the 63-year-old coach a new perspective.
"I think the retirement thing has helped a great deal," Hurley said. "All I do now is play with the baby (grandson Gabriel Ursic), read and work out, then play more with the baby. When I get to practice, I'm always in a good mood. I'm always loose and ready to go."
The milestone victory caps a whirlwind year for Hurley, the father of the Wagner College coaching brother tandem of head coach Danny and assistant Bobby, the former Duke All-American point guard.
There was a full-length documentary released about Hurley and his undefeated national championship team of 2008, followed by the Hall of Fame induction, making him only the third high school coach to be inducted. The street where St. Anthony is located was renamed in his honor as well.
"I would have liked to have spread it out a little," Hurley said. "Sure, you're comparing apples and oranges here, but everything happened in about a six-month period. It's been overwhelming. It's really been a remarkable year. I usually like doing things without being in the spotlight."