If you grew up in North Philadelphia and played basketball as a youngster, the you probably know Eddie Hurtt. Hurtt has been a local youth basketball coach and clinician for more than three decades. He has been a huge part of the youth basketball community in North Philly. His success has deservedly brought him some great recognition.
Hurtt was recently honored for his basketball prowess by being named the 76ers Jr. NBA Coach of the Year. It was quite a tribute to a person who has spent most of his life giving back to his basketball community.
“The NBA has a program called the Jr. NBA,” Hurtt said. “They have this program where they nominate local coaches of the year for each NBA team. I was told by the 76ers I was nominated a number of times this year. I won in an open nomination period. I got a call from my good friend Mike Goings who is the [Philadelphia 76ers] director of alumni [and youth marketing]. I’ve known Mike for a long time.
“I’ve done a lot of community stuff with him and the Sixers over the years. I’ve done the Sixers Summer Hoops Tour. This is a great honor. I’m low key. I don’t look for any recognition. I just do what I do and keep on doing it.”
Goings has worked with Hurtt for several years with a number of basketball events. He has been a valuable resource to him in regards to connecting with a lot of people and places in the basketball community.
“I’ve known Eddie the whole time I’ve been with the Sixers,” Goings said. “It’s been about 15 years. He’s always been a great guy. He’s known as Mr. North Philly. If we need anything in North Philly or anything you need done in the community, he’s definitely the guy to go to. “We’ve gone out and done numerous basketball clinics together over the years in North Philadelphia like the Martin Luther King Recreation Center, Ben Franklin High School and various places. We’ve developed a relationship for years with basketball.
“We were well aware of what he has done. With these types of things, we like to leave it to the public to nominate people. He, by far this year, got the most nominations and kind of told that story of really why he should get the coach of the year. He was overwhelming the best candidate for sure to win the award based purely on the nominations we’ve received.”
Hurtt has been an outstanding youth basketball coach posting an impressive 425-125 record over 32 years. He has won championships in several Philadelphia youth leagues including the Sonny Hill League where he gained a lot of knowledge and experience from some terrific mentors.
“I learned a lot in the Sonny Hill League,” Hurtt said. “We had some great coaches like Claude Gross, Tee Shields, Fred Douglas and John Hardnett. I learned a lot from those guys.”
The Sonny Hill League provided a good foundation for Hurtt. There were other coaches who made an impression and helped to shape his career like former Ben Franklin High School head coach Ken Hamilton, who is one of the Public League’s winningest basketball coaches. Another mentor was former Temple coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer John Chaney.
“Coach Kenny Hamilton allowed me to be his assistant at Ben Franklin High School,” Hurtt said. “I was a student and he was my world history teacher. I learned a lot from him and Coach Chaney. I watched Temple for so many years. I went to Coach Hamilton and said, ‘You know they’re using some of the stuff that we do at Ben Franklin. He said, ‘where you think I got it from. I started paying attention to Coach Chaney a lot.”
Hurtt has been a certified USA Basketball Gold Coach since 2015, as well as a Jr. NBA Coach member. Hurtt currently coaches in the Youth Working Together League (YWT), where he was named Coach of the Year in 2016 and ’17. These accomplishments are nice, but he really enjoys working with the youngsters in his North Philadelphia community. Every summer he holds a basketball camp for kids.
“I have a lot of kids who look forward to coming to the camp,” Hurtt said. “We have the camp every summer in August. It’s the last two weeks of the month. We started out with 50 kids. One summer we had 200 kids at camp. John Hardnett and myself used to bring the NBA players to camp on Fridays to give awards out to the kids. We had Aaron McKie, Eddie Jones, Marc Jackson, Malik Rose and Kenny Thomas come to the camp.”
Jackson, a former Temple and NBA standout, was really thrilled when he heard that Hurtt earned this special accolade.
“For the 76ers to recognize him as the Jr. NBA Coach of the Year says a lot,” Jackson said. “Everything he has done for the youth, he has come in contact with, has not been forgotten. I think that’s so important because of what he’s done. He has not been forgotten. He’s touched a lot of lives. He’s from that Sonny Hill [League]-John Hardnett cloth. People like him have helped people for so long. I’m happy for him.”
Eddie Hurtt has made a big difference in the basketball community and is now being recognized for his efforts.