He's 33 years old now and has been removed from the game of professional basketball for almost six years. The days of him leading the Duke fast break as perhaps the best point guard in the history of college basketball are more than a decade removed. There's a sprinkling of gray in his hair and he's the proud father of three now, two girls and a boy.
So the idea of playing basketball again isn't something that comes often to mind to Hurley. He's content with his life as a thoroughbred horse owner and breeder. Retirement is suiting him just fine.
Last Saturday, Hurley came out of retirement for just a little while - to play in a charity game that would benefit a local family in some dire need.
Dan Finn was former St. Peter's Prep standout in basketball and soccer player who was tragically killed over the summer while vacationing in South Carolina. He was struck by an automobile in a hit-and-run accident, but without any medical insurance, his parents, Eddie and Mary, were left with a load of expensive hospital bills.
So some of Eddie Finn's basketball officiating brethren got together and held a basketball doubleheader that could help raise a few dollars and defray some of the costs.
The first game pitted the Jersey City Police Department against the Jersey City Fire Department. The second game pitted a team of St. Anthony High School alumni against a Hudson County All-Star alumni team. Hurley played for the St. Anthony alumni team and showed that he still has a love for the game, although the skills might have deteriorated a little.
"I saw Bobby Hurley winded," laughed Terry Dehere, Hurley's high school teammate who went on to become the all-time leading scorer at Seton Hall and played for several years in the NBA, like Hurley. "I never thought I'd see the day where Bobby Hurley was winded. Bobby and I have gray hair now. Time just flies by so much. I thought we would be able to stay young forever."
At least Hurley gave it a try to play. Dehere and another celebrated teammate from that great St. Anthony team of 1989, namely Jerry Walker, remained on the sidelines. Dehere was the coach of the St. Anthony alumni team. He offered one piece of coaching strategy.
"Just run up and take the first 3-pointer you get," Dehere said.
It's safe to say he never learned that philosophy from his high school coach, Bob Hurley, or his college coach, P.J. Carlesimo.
But it was one of the few times that Hurley, Dehere and Walker were together again, just like they were in 1989, comprising the best high school basketball team known to man.
"When you're a St. Anthony player, you are for life," said Dehere, who is also retired from professional basketball and now works in commercial real estate in the Jersey City area. "This is what we do. Someone is in need. Someone suffered a tragedy and we get together to help a good cause. When a family goes through a tragedy like this, we all try to pitch in and help the family in a bad situation."
Hurley said that he definitely felt a special closeness to the cause because he knew Dan Finn well and knows the family well.
In fact, Dan Finn looked up to Bobby and wanted to be as much like Hurley as possible. At a very young age, Dan Finn attended the Bobby Hurley Basketball Camp and learned a dribbling technique that was taught to him by Bobby.
But there was another reason why Hurley felt compelled to attend the day to help the family of Dan Finn. They had something in common - victims of auto accidents.
In 1993, Bobby Hurley was in a near-fatal car accident when he was thrown from his car and remained in a ditch for hours before being rescued. He had several surgeries to repair a broken windpipe, as well as several other internal injuries.
So when someone close is involved in a similar situation, it certainly hits close to home in Hurley's heart.
"After going through my ordeal, I know what it's like," Hurley said. "Of course, their pain is a little more severe, because Dan didn't survive. But I wanted to be involved moreso because of what happened."
It turned out to be a fun day for all. First off, the Jersey City firefighters defeated the Jersey City police 55-30, led by players like former Snyder standout Gary Garvin and former St. Anthony player Carl Ross. Former St. Peter's Prep and St. Peter's College player Kevin Hennessey professed to have had an impact on the win, but in reality, it was a miniscule role.
Then, the Hudson County All-Stars actually defeated the St. Anthony alumni by 10 points. Imagine that. St. Anthony losing? Considering that Hurley and Walker only lost four times in their high school careers as members of the Friars and won 105 times, it certainly was a novelty.
But it was the cause more than anything that turned out to be the winner.
"I walked into the gym not having any idea of what to expect," said Eddie Finn, Dan's father. "I was taken back by the extent of the involvement. The basketball community was willing to give of themselves. Since Dan's accident, I've been talking to so many people who have been suffering with us and feeling with us. It's been very uplifting."
Finn said that some of the players there were unknown to him, even some of the cops and firemen.
"It shows that there are some genuinely good people out there," Finn said.
Finn had nothing but praise to say about Bob Lauterhahn, who organized the day.
"He's gone so far and beyond what a friend does," Finn said. "There's nothing that I can say that would do him justice. He took the leadership and got this thing rolling. He's one of the best coaches, one of the best officials and without a doubt, one of the best people around. Shortly after Dan died, I made a vow that we were going to try our best to keep Dan's name and memory alive, so he will never be forgotten. We're doing exactly that."
But it was also a way for some of the all-time greats to relive their past.
"It's great to get back and see some of the guys," Hurley said. "I always love to come back to Jersey City and try to get back as often as possible. Days like this make it possible."
Dehere said that he credited Bob Hurley, the coach, for keeping everyone so close.
"I don't think he gets enough credit for keeping the family intact," Dehere said. "He's the one who makes the calls and gets everyone together."
And much like E.F. Hutton, when Bob Hurley calls, people listen. Obviously, the strong turnout for the charity doubleheader Saturday proved that. - Jim Hague