BLOOMFIELD – Stan Kaminski, who played on the legendary Bloomfield High School boys’ basketball teams in the late 1950s, died March 16. He was 76.
Kaminski played on the BHS boys’ basketball teams that won 64 straight games in three straight seasons from 1956-1958 under legendary head coach George Cella. The win streak was the longest in modern day New Jersey public school history.
Kaminski, who lived in Kennebunk, Maine, became a high school championship-winning coach in both basketball and softball for the Ramapo/Indian Hills district for 36 years.
Chuck Quinn, Kaminski’s best friend and teammate at BHS, spoke to Kaminski a week before he died. Kaminski had several health issues, including cancer, open heart surgery, and two knee replacement surgeries, said Quinn. Right before he died, Kaminski had heart valve replacement surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. After the operation, Kaminski was in intensive care for close to two months.
Quinn and Kaminski were 1957 BHS graduates who were starters on the basketball team in their junior and senior years. Quinn was a captain for both years. Quinn met Kaminski when the latter moved to Bloomfield from Newark in his sophomore year.
“Stan was a big fella; a very dedicated player; a team player,” said Quinn in a phone interview from his home in Cedar Grove, where he has lived for 40 years. “He was kind of quiet, but he was a bull under the boards; a very strong fella. He was easy to get along with; had a good personality. He had a good sense of humor. We got along very, very well over the years.
“He was as much instrumental as anybody having our streak go as long as we did. He was extremely dedicated; hard-working; an extremely reliable person. He was our high scorer and best rebounder. He was just an all-around great guy. He was probably the hardest worker I’ve ever played with in basketball; just a wonderful guy.”
Quinn described their high school playing days as a “very exciting time.” The Bengals had some close games in Quinn and Kaminski’s senior season, including a win over Montclair on a last-second shot. The game was held at Montclair State College because so many people wanted to attend and the gym at Montclair High was too small, said Quinn. The Bengals also won the Essex County Tournament title that year, beating St. Benedict’s, 57-55.
Quinn and Kaminski also went to Albright College (Reading, Pa.) together.
Quinn said he recently attended Kaminski and his wife Genevieve’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Kaminski met Genevieve when they were at BHS. They had eight children and 14 grandchildren.