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VIDEO: St. Andrew's basketball coach John O'Connell picks up 500th career win

Dec 08, 2012 -- 12:05am

By: Wells Dusenbury

John O'Connell never planned on being here this long.

After playing four years of Division 1 basketball at Rutgers from 1978-1982, O'Connell dreamed of becoming a college coach.

He spent the next two seasons as a graduate assistant before receiving some advice from his head coach at Rutgers, Tom Young.

"He said, 'Go to high school, establish your own program, then come back,'" said O'Connell. "I came down here and I figured I'd be here two years."

O'Connell proceeded to head south where he took the St. Andrew's job in 1985.

27 years later, O'Connell is still at St. Andrew's and has established himself as one of the area's top head coaches.

On Friday night, O'Connell achieved a major milestone, notching up his 500th career victory as St. Andrew's topped Lincoln Park Academy at home 64-46.

O'Connell, who's father is one of the most revered high school basketball coaches in New Jersey, mused about his accomplishment after the game.

"You know, it's funny. I called my dad this morning. He had over 700 wins and he said to me: 'John, you hang around long enough, you're bound to accomplish something,'" O'Connell said with a smile.  "So basically, I've been here for a while. It's kind of fun to get it."

VIDEO: O'Connell wins #500

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