Harrison hoop great McDonough Huaranga earns Hudson Hall

When Kim McDonough was lighting up scoreboards as a basketball legend at Harrison High School – long before she became Kim Huaranga, athletic director at the school – she was carving out a hoop resume that would last a lifetime.

“She was the greatest finisher I ever saw,” said her coach at Harrison High Jack Rodgers. “She would get within five feet of the basket and she was going to score. She also would get fouled. She scored over 800 points in her career from the free throw line. She was also better than anybody with either hand. She also had no fear whatsoever.”

Kim McDonough scored 2,790 points during her illustrious career at Harrison, the highest point total for any basketball player – boy or girl – in Hudson County history.

She then went on to play at St. Peter’s College, where she played for another legendary coach, former long-time Kearny resident Mike Granelli.

“She had all the intangibles you wanted in a player,” Granelli said. “She wasn’t afraid to take the big shot. She was a good solid player. She wasn’t a shooter, but she was a scorer. She was just a positive influence on our whole program.”
While McDonough was at St. Peter’s, the Peahens (as the team was called during those days) went to the NCAA Tournament an incredible three times.

“We always tried to get the best players from Hudson County,” Granelli said. “And Kim fit the bill.”

Last Thursday night, Kim McDonough Huaranga earned her place with the immortals in Hudson County history as she was inducted into the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame at the Liberty House in Jersey City.

The current AD at Harrison joined both of her coaches (Rodgers and Granelli) as members of the illustrious Hall of Fame.

“I couldn’t ask for better coaches,” Huaranga said. “To be able to share the honor with both of them is amazing.”

Huaranga said that she was surprised to see Granelli at the dinner.

“I was very happy to see Coach Granelli,” Huaranga said. “I wasn’t exactly sure if he was going to make it. So it was a little bit of a surprise. I was so grateful to play for both of them.”

So there they were, Hall of Famers one and all, coaches and player. It was quite a collection.

Huaranga said she was blessed to have so many of her former teammates, friends and family present for her induction.

“It was very special for me,” Huaranga said. “I was so lucky to celebrate with so many of my family, teammates and friends. It was incredible. It was very special that everyone decided to come.”

Rodgers loved his player’s intensity and drive.

“She played with a lot of good players, but she made them all better,” Rodgers said. “She was ideal for what we were doing. She could handle, shoot, get to the basket and score. If I needed her, she could go into the post or she could handle the ball as a point guard. That led to her getting to the basket.”

When Rodgers wasn’t coaching basketball, he served as the school’s athletic director. He retired eight years ago and soon after he retired, Huaranga was tabbed to step into the position he once held.

“That makes it kind of nice,” Rodgers said. “When she was in college, she interned with me and learned all the details of being the AD. Now, she’s doing the job and she’s doing a great job.”
Rodgers was happy to see people at the dinner that he doesn’t normally see.

“It really was a special night,” said Rodgers, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. “When you start out coaching, you don’t know what’s going to happen. But now, I got to see Kim get into the Hall of Fame. She’s one of the best players ever to come from Hudson County.”

“It feels great to have one of your players get in,” said Granelli, who was inducted into the Hudson County Hall of Fame in 1998.

Huaranga said that she was especially grateful to share the night with her children, namely Anthony (age 9) and Giuliana (age 7). Both of her children are budding athletes, with Anthony playing football, basketball and baseball and Giuliana playing top-level soccer.

“I was really overjoyed and proud to see the happiness in their eyes,” Huaranga said. “They both said that they liked my speech.”

Huaranga gave special credit to her father, Tom, who spent countless hours with her as a youngster learning about the game of basketball.

“I wouldn’t have any of it without my father,” Huaranga said. “My big theme of the night was paying it forward. My father gave it to me and I hopefully am paying it forward to my children. I dedicated the night to my father.”

And now, Kim McDonough Huaranga will be forever remembered in Hudson County sports annals as a Hall of Famer, a true blue Blue Tide.




Harrison High School basketball legend and current athletic director Kim McDonough Huaranga (center), who is the all-time leading scorer in the history of Hudson County basketball, earned induction into the Hudson County Sports Hall of Fame last Thursday night, joining her coaches Mike Granelli (left) and Jack Rodgers (right). Both Granelli and Rodgers are in the Hall of Fame, now joined by their star pupil. Photo courtesy of Kim Huaranga



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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”