By Joseph Staszewski
Archbishop Molloy officially named Coach Jack Curran’s replacements by removing the “interim” titles from basketball Coach and Athletic Director Mike McCleary and baseball headman Brad Lyons, according to McCleary.
Curran, who coached both sports at the Briarwood school for 55 years, died in March. Both McCleary and Lyons took over in his absence this season. He missed the final three weeks of the basketball season after slipping and breaking his kneecap. Their return to the bench brings stability and familiarity to the programs and allows Curran’s teaching to continue.
“I feel very comfortable in assuming the responsibilities of head basketball coach,” McCleary said. “Brad has a very good feel for how Coach Curran operated and how the school operates and what the student body’s like and the student athletes are like. It makes things a lot easier.”
McCleary, who was not a part of the basketball coach hiring process because he was a candidate, was on the bench with Curran for 15 years. Lyons was an assistant for three seasons under Curran and his assistant, Matt Rizzotti, who will also be asked back, played for Curran.
Both McCleary and Lyons are facility members, something that was important to Molloy Principal Brother Thomas Schady, according to McCleary.
“They are fully committed to the Molloy way of doing things, which is school first and athletics second,” McCleary said of Schady, who wanted to keep the faculty involved in sports. “In mine and Brad’s case, that’s certainly our priorities.”
The school was pleased with the performance of Lyons and Rizzotti under difficult circumstances. Curran’s death coincided with the start of the baseball season. Under Lyons, Molloy finished 13-4, placed second in the CHSAA Brooklyn/Queens division and qualified for the league’s championship tournament as a No. 5 seed.
“I was happy with the result,” McCleary said.