Great Irish Fair

The Celtic Cross Award – Donald Kent

The Celtic Cross is the ancient symbol of the Catholic faith in Ireland. For over a thousand years, the High Crosses of Ireland have been landmarks that represent the celebration of that faith. The Great Irish Fair honors a person who exemplifies devotion to faith and the Irish expression of that faith here in New York City in the 21st century.


Donald Kent is the fifth of seven children of the late Edward and Jean (Joyce) Kent. His brother, Walter, graduated from Holy Name School, Park Slope, in January 1955; Robert, 1957; Theresa, 1962; and Gerard, 1964. Eddie, who was honored by the Holy Name Foundation in 2009, graduated in 1951 from O.L.P.H. John, the oldest boy, went back to heaven at the age of seven.

Don graduated in 1958 from Holy Name, where he served as an altar boy for three years. At Holy Name, he played on the grammar school basketball team and was a member of Holy Name’s first track team in 1957-58. He went to St. Francis Prep, Brooklyn, and ran track for two years and then became a member of the varsity basketball team. He graduated in 1962 for St. Mary of the Plains College, Dodge City, Kansas, the cowboy capital of the world, where he played basketball.

After graduation, he returned to Brooklyn and worked at P.S. 10 and I.S. 188 as a youth board recreation assistant while working on his first master’s degree at St. John’s University. His first teaching position was at Mater Christi Diocesan H.S., Astoria, as a physical education teacher.

He arrived at Msgr. McClancy Memorial H.S., East Elmhurst, in 1982 as a physical education teacher and varsity boys’ basketball coach. He thanks Brother James O’Grady S.C., now deceased, and former athletic director, Charlie O’Donnell, now retired, for hiring him. He received his second master’s degree from NYU in physical education athletic administration.

He also coached at Bishop Reilly Diocesan H.S., Fresh Meadows, for one year, and Christ the King Regional H.S., Middle Village, for eight years.

He is a member of the Msgr. McClancy Hall of Fame, the CHSAA Hall of Fame, and the New York State Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame. He has won numerous Coach of the Year awards from the NY Daily News, New York Newsday, CHSAA, and The Tablet. He was awarded the Sportsmanship Award by the Queens Referee Board Local No. 119 six times in his career.

He coached the NYC Empire State boys scholastic basketball team and won nine medals, winning the gold three times in 12 years.