Longtime PV coach receives Bob Hurley Award

Jasper recognized Thursday night


Ariela Alfonso

Jeff Jasper speaks after having 'Jasper Court' named after him. On Thursday night, he received the Bob Hurley Award at the 2019 Dan Finn Foundation Charity Gala.

BJ McGrane, Sports Editor

Jeff Jasper is one of the most accomplished high school coaches of all time, surpassing 1,000 wins, as well as winning six state championships and 14 sectional titles in his 46-year tenure as girls basketball coach at Pascack Valley. However, Jasper does not think his accomplishments are solely based on winning.

“My accomplishments are never about the winning and losing or championships or anything like that,” Jasper said. “My accomplishments are really about all the people.”

Thursday night, Jasper received the Bob Hurley Award at the 2019 Dan Finn Foundation Charity Gala.

The award is named after Bob Hurley, one of two high school coaches in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and a man who is considered by many as the greatest high school basketball coach of all time.

“[Hurley] is recognized as the best high school coach ever,” Jasper said.

When Jasper found out that he was chosen to receive the Bob Hurley Award, the excitement that rushed through him wasn’t just for himself, but for all of his teams and girls who have played for his teams over the years.

“This is the first time a girls’ coach has been recognized on the level of Hurley,” Jasper said. “My teams deserve respect and admiration for what they do and how they do it.”

Being the only girls basketball coach that PV has ever had, Jasper has fought for equality and respect for his teams for years.

“It wasn’t just girls playing basketball. [They] just happen to be basketball players who are girls,” Jasper said. “I’m always pushing for young women to be opinionated, stubborn, strong, and courageous.”

“In a weird way, [Jasper receiving the award] is bigger than one person, but it is one person,” PV teacher Ken Sarajian said. Sarajian is a longtime friend and colleague of Jasper.

The realization that the Bob Hurley Award would add to the validation and credibility of girls basketball teams is what made receiving the award special for Jasper.

“[The validation and credibility] is why it became more than just another award and another place that I was going to give a speech,” Jasper said. “I’ve been recognized for lots of different kinds of things. Out of those things, some are way more meaningful than others. [The Bob Hurley Award] falls into one of those very special categories.”

After being introduced by PV teacher and coach Al Coleman and then by Bob Hurley himself, Jasper gave an acceptance speech. In his speech, Jasper spoke about more than just his experiences coaching basketball.

“I spoke about how much I love my classes,” Jasper said. “I said ‘I laugh when I say that I’m a teacher, because truly I’m a lifelong learner.’ My classes teach me something every day.”

Jasper talked mainly about the people who have been influential to him, many of whom were at the event.

“When I got done [speaking], I said, ‘So that is why this has been a life that has been well lived. I just tried to make a difference every day,’” Jasper said.

According to others, Jasper has indeed made a difference in the community.

“[Jasper] is not an ordinary person,” PV history teacher Ken Sarajian said. “He’s a unique person who has taken his talents and done good things with them.”

Jasper hopes that he has been able to “engage the community” in what he does, similar to the way Bob Hurley did.

“I’ve watched him for 40 years, and yet, he’s still Jasper,” Sarajian said. “When I came [to PV], I was a young man that [Jasper] helped mentor.”

Just as much as he has affected the community, Jasper feels he has been affected just as much by it.

“I am defined by Pascack Valley,” Jasper said. “There isn’t a life that goes ‘here’s Jeff Jasper and here’s Pascack Valley.’ My life is Pascack Valley.”

Jasper feels that he is fortunate to have ended up at PV, due to the effects the community has had on him and his life.

“I don’t think there is another place that could have impacted me like [Pascack Valley] has,” Jasper said. “I go out of here as energized in the afternoon as I am when I come in the morning.”

Receiving the Bob Hurley award was one of Jasper’s biggest accomplishments, but he said it will not change anything.

“Getting the award doesn’t change my life any, but it does validate what I’ve done,” Jasper said.