Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Indians' Jasper Wins 1,000th Career Game

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Indians' Jasper Wins 1,000th Career Game

Article excerpt

HILLSDALE — The memories flooded Jeff Jasper's mind throughout the day. With them came emotions, and with the emotions came tears.

He couldn't fight them. Not during his 5 a.m. spin class. Not on the way to get his morning coffee or on the way to Pascack Valley High School, where this iconic journey began back in 1971.

Jasper knew the milestone he was potentially hours away from accomplishing was special. But it was the memories and the dozens of messages he received in the prior days that brought the tears.

"I just saw the faces of all these kids who have just become such great people and they've so enriched my life," Jasper said. "That's the emotion of this."

Shortly before 4 p.m. he walked into the gym at Pascack Valley and saw so many of those faces in the stands. They watched Jasper's Indians beat Northern Highlands, 73-25, to give the legendary coach his 1,000th victory on Thursday.

Jasper, in his 45th year on the sideline, is the first girls basketball coach in New Jersey to reach that milestone. He's just the second basketball coach in state history to reach the 1,000-win mark, joining former St. Anthony boys basketball coach Bob Hurley.

The celebration began in the final minutes of the game.

Fans who packed the gym began to put on green t-shirts with "1,000" written across the front. The zeroes on the shirts were yellow smiley faces, a tribute to the pin Jasper wears each day to honor Joe Poli, the late Pascack Valley principal and his close friend.

In a post-game address to the crowd, Jasper thanked his three families: His wife Lois and their sons, Justin, Geremy and Gavin, his Pascack Valley family, and the "long gold line," the players who have come through this program through the decades.

Jasper choked up during the speech, particularly at the end when he thanked his late parents, Walt and Gussie.

"To be the only coach this school's ever had on this and taking it from that truly pathetic beginning to the heights at it's now — I love the way we play," Jasper said. …

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