St. Thomas More Jere Quinn joins list of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame nominees

St. Thomas More head coach Jere Quinn, in his 38th season, was nominated Wednesday for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. (Tim Martin/Day File Photo)
St. Thomas More head coach Jere Quinn, in his 38th season, was nominated Wednesday for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. (Tim Martin/Day File Photo)

Jere Quinn has a flip phone he jokingly tells people is an iPhone 8.

“It’s been flipping all day,” Quinn said with a laugh late Wednesday night. “It’s actually been an interesting day. … When you do something the best you can, with your heart, people recognize it.”

In his 38th season as the head coach of the St. Thomas More post-graduate men’s basketball team, Quinn, 61, of Oakdale, was listed earlier in the day as a nominee for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Quinn was listed on the ballot for the first time along with former UConn men’s basketball coach and an administrator for 48 years, Dee Rowe, included as a contributor. UConn women’s basketball great Rebecca Lobo remains on the ballot as a player for the third year.

Quinn is 970-254 with five appearances in the national prep school championship game and one national title.

He said it was actually Rowe who noticed his rapport with the players he coaches and encouraged him to remain at St. Thomas More, where he is currently also the director of development.

Quinn said there were several people who pushed for his inclusion on the Hall of Fame ballot, including officials from the prep school association, ESPN college basketball writer Jeff Goodman and Quinn’s own son Matt, who is his assistant coach with the Chancellors.

Quinn played basketball for the legendary Jack Curran at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, as well as coach Bill Detrick at Central Connecticut State University.

“Between them, they have close to 1,500 wins,” Quinn said. “These guys are my role models. … I think I’m the lucky one. Kids have reached out to me to say, ‘Coach, you deserve it,’ and I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no.’ I prefer to thank them.

“I don’t ever remember a bad kid. Kids rise to the level of expectations and my kids have also risen to that level. I don’t remember a bad season. I don’t remember a bad year. We’ve always tried to be a family here, try to make the kids feel good about themselves and play a little basketball.”

St. Thomas More is 8-5 this year.

A native of Worcester, Mass., Rowe was named UConn men's coach in March, 1969, and won 120 games over the next eight seasons. He was named New England Coach of the Year twice (1970, 1976), led UConn to a pair of NIT berths (1974, 1975) and guided the 1975-76 team to the ECAC New England championship along with a berth in the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16.

In 1979, Rowe played a pivotal behind-the-scenes role for UConn when Big East Conference founder and commissioner Dave Gavitt invited the Huskies to leave their New England athletic roots and become one of the seven charter members of the newly formed Big East.

In 1980, Rowe experienced what he calls "the greatest thrill of my personal basketball life" serving as assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team under Gavitt, who was the head coach.

Rowe was a key member of two UConn search committees in the mid-1980s that brought future Naismith Hall of Fame coaches Geno Auriemma (1985) and Jim Calhoun (1986) to the university.

Rowe was one of the members of the inaugural class of inductees to the UConn Basketball Huskies of Honor in 2007. Also that year, UConn awarded Rowe with the University Medal, one of the school's most prestigious honors established by the Board of Trustees to recognize individuals who have had a significant influence. He is a member of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lobo, currently a television broadcaster with ESPN, led UConn to a perfect 35-0 record in helping guide the Huskies to their first NCAA women's national championship in 1995. In addition to earning National Player of the Year honors, Lobo was a member of the 1996 USA Women's Basketball Gold Medal winning Olympic team and was the No. 1 pick of the New York Liberty in the WNBA draft. Lobo was a two-time All-American.

The Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be formally announced on Monday, April 3, during the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Final Four in Phoenix.

Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities will take place in Springfield, Mass., Sept. 7-9.


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