After years of devoted service to the community and its children, Jack Hausler recently announced to league coaches that he will step down as head of the Fort Lee Junior Basketball League.
After serious consideration on the part of league officials, Curtis Adams, a Fort Lee Coach for the past two years and former college basketball player, volunteered to take over as league director.
“I’m not taking it over on my own,” Adams told Patch. “Mario Mowatt will be the president of the basketball program, and I will be working alongside him. There’s a committee of people who will be heading the program.”
As Patch reported last year, played high school basketball at St. Joseph’s Regional High School in Montvale. After that he was recruited to play at Felician College, where his career was cut short by injury.
Adams received formal approval to serve as league director from Fort Lee Councilman Michael Sargenti, the liaison to the Fort Lee Recreation Department and therefore Fort Lee’s youth sports leagues. Adams will work with Hausler, who offered to help the new director learn the entire operation and to assist him through the transition process.
Asked about Hausler and what he’s meant to the league, Adams said, quite simply, “He’s a leader.”
“There’s a lot to be learned from him, and hopefully, he’ll be around to provide us—the committee—with insight as to how to run the program the way he did,” Adams said. “Because he did this on his own for a good amount of years. Taking over is going to be a new experience, but his insight would help us make this a smooth transition.”
Adams intends to transform the league into an entity that resembles the Fort Lee Soccer League, according to a source close to the league. He will appoint a Board of Trustees, for example, consisting of coaches and volunteers from Fort Lee, many of whom have been involved with the Fort Lee Junior Basketball League for years.
While Hausler was able to run the league by devoting a considerable amount of his personal time to the task, Adams prefers to take a more corporate approach, knowing that he cannot run the league entirely on his own. He will evaluate the entire operation and make changes where appropriate, while maintaining the highest standards possible for all the kids.
Currently, the basketball league is for boys from six to 13 years old. In the past, the league separated the players by grade, but Adams is considering separation by age, taking what he believes is a more equitable approach.
“We’re just going to keep it the same for now with minor improvements here and there just so we can make the kids have a smooth process,” Adams said. “Because at the end of the day, that’s what the program is about and who it’s for.”
But over time, he said, “We are looking to expand this program.”
“We’ll reward the kids in a better way like more rewards, aside from trophies, at the end of the season,” Adams said. “If we can develop the talent in the players, then we can bring in competition; we’re looking to have maybe an inter-city basketball tournament. We can do things like that.”
The season will remain the same as in the past—the winter months, December through mid-February. Games will continue to be played at the and .
Adams will likely appoint a board member to work with referees to eliminate some of the conflicts with coaches the league has experienced in the past. Adams and his board will be meeting regularly with the coaches to instruct them on league rules and the proper protocol for dealing with the referees.
As in the past, the league will recruit high school students to keep score during games, thereby enabling them to gain community service credits.
“I’ll have people helping me, and hopefully, I’ll be able to help folks any way I can,” Adams said, adding that he’s looking forward to "getting the ball rolling" shortly after school starts in the fall.
“The Fort Lee community wishes to thank Jack Hausler for his many years of service and to wish Curtis success in taking over the Fort Lee Junior Basketball League,” said one Fort Lee resident close to the league. “The real beneficiary will be the boys of Fort Lee. We all look forward to attending the games in the 2012-2013 season and watching our future All-Stars.”