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12 INDUCTEES TO GREATER BUFFALO SPORTS HALL OF FAME

Posted June 16th, 2011 11:40am

 BUFFALO, NY – The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame will introduce its 12 member class of 2011, Wednesday afternoon, June 15 in the Pavilion area at HSBC Arena. Introduction of this year’s new members will commence at 3:00 pm with board president, Brian Cavanaugh, presiding.
A reception will follow until 4:30 pm. This event will mark the 21st class to be inducted into the Hall of Fame since its inception in 1991 and brings total membership to 240.
Former All-Pro Buffalo Bills lineman Ruben Brown and two time Super Bowl champion, Jim Burt, (Orchard Park, NY) will give remarks on behalf of the class. Brown, the 14th pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, made eight consecutive Pro Bowls during his nine year career with the Bills, while Burt earned one Pro Bowl nomination and captured two Super Bowls – one each with the New York Giants and San Francisco 49’ers.
In addition to Brown and Burt, a former Sabres broadcaster and player, and a host of local legends, highlight the class of 12 new inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
Also being announced are Jim Lorentz (Hockey), Curtis Aiken (Basketball), Don Colpoys (Amateur Baseball), Phil Mankowski (Baseball), Steve Mesler (Olympian) and Cindy Miller (Golf).
In addition, four other prominent sportsmen – Buffalo Bills fullback Cookie Gilchrist, the inventor of the sport of volleyball William Morgan, one of the “founding fathers” of the West Side Rowing Club Michael Broderick and legendary distance runner Lewis “Deerfoot” Bennett  – will join the Pride of Western New York – which honors Buffalo-area sports immortals posthumously.
This group will join a rich heritage of native Western New Yorkers, and those who starred in and around the Queen City during their playing days, who are enshrined in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. The 2011 class will be officially inducted in November (date to be announced) at the Buffalo Hyatt Regency.
The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame honors those who have enhanced our lives with their performances and commitment to Western New York sports, an effort surpassed only by the positive impressions they have left on our athletes of tomorrow. For additional information on the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, please go to www.gbshof.com. For more information on the press conference, please contact John Maddock at 716-888-2977.
 
CURTIS AIKEN
When people talk about the greatest players and athletes to come out of Buffalo, it’s not too far into the conversation that Curtis Aiken’s name gets mentioned.
Curtis was a basketball standout at Buffalo’s Bennett High School. He earned All-WNY honors in his junior and senior years, and was named the WNY Player of the Year for his 1982-83 season. He scored 924 points that campaign, including a single game 65-point performance, which ranks 9th in New York State public high school history. He also added 44 in a 105-102 win over Romeo McKinney's outstanding South Park squad that year. That season’s total is second all-time in WNY, and fourth in New York State public schools. Aiken ranks seventh all-time in WNY with 2,162 points, and it should be noted that his points were all tallied before the introduction of the 3-point line.
Aiken’s success continued in his college career at the University of Pittsburgh. He played guard for the Panthers from 1983-87 and is considered a legend in the steel city. As a recruit, he was Pitt’s first McDonald’s High School All-American, and his numbers speak for themselves. With 1,200 career points, Aiken ranks 21st on Pitt’s all-time scoring list. He ranks 8th among school leaders in assists with 378, and 12th in steals with 155. He tied the school’s record with seven steals in a 1985 game against Syracuse.
His performance on the court led to a number of accolades for Aiken throughout his career. He was named one of the top three seniors in the Big East prior to his senior season by Eastern Basketball, and was the Big East Player of the Week later that season.  During his junior year, both Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News named Curtis the Player of the Week during the first week of January.
As a key recruit, he helped pave the way for Pitt’s entry into the Big East, and in his senior year, he captained Pitt’s Big East regular season championship team on its way to a 25-8 overall finish and a 12-4 conference mark.
Aiken is the founder and CEO of Pro Tech Compliance, Inc., a technology and services company in Pittsburgh. He is an avid supporter of several community groups in the Pittsburgh region and currently serves on the boards of organizations such as the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, the YMCA Metro Board, the Juvenile Diabetes Fund, the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) Board - which oversees the city’s finances, and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. 
Professionally, he is still in the game, working as an analyst for Pitt basketball radio broadcasts.
 
 
RUBEN BROWN
Ruben Brown had an illustrious athletic career in football and wrestling at E.C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, VA before moving on to the University of Pittsburgh where he starred as an offensive tackle for three years (1992-94).  He was named to the All-Big East team three consecutive seasons and earned a BS degree in Sociology/Psychology in 1995. He was drafted 14th overall in the 1995 NFL Draft by Buffalo and went on to become an outstanding guard for the Bills from 1995-2003. 
Brown was an inspirational leader of the Bills on and off the field, playing in 136 regular season games while making eight straight AFC-NFC Pro Bowls over his nine-year career in Western New York. He was very active in community service work and was named the Buffalo Bills/NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner in 1999, 2001 and 2002.  He also won Pro Football Weekly’s Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2003, as well as the 2003 William Booth Community Service Award presented by the Salvation Army.
He started the Ruben Brown Foundation in 2001 “to provide assistance to charities and community organizations that focus on the development of youth through athletics, cultural and educational programs”.  He established the Ruben Brown Motorcycle Run in Buffalo to benefit the Salvation Army and continued it in Chicago when he signed with the Bears as a free agent in 2004.
He played three seasons for the Bears, including an appearance in Super Bowl XL (2006) before injuries forced his retirement from the NFL in 2007.
Ruben was named to the Buffalo Bills’ 50th Season All-Time Team and was awarded the Ralph C. Wilson Distinguished Service Award by the Monday Quarterback Club in 2010.
The Orchard Park resident maintains a busy schedule with charity work, through his foundation, and with radio and TV shows in WNY. He becomes the 27th Buffalo Bill to be inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and the fourth offensive lineman.
 
 
 
JIM BURT
The pride of Orchard Park, NY, defensive tackle Jim Burt celebrated a highly decorated NFL career respected by his peers for a toughness and determination that earned him two Super Bowl championships and a Pro Bowl honor during his 11 year football career.
After participating in various south towns youth sports organizations, Burt attended Orchard Park High School playing both hockey and football. In his senior year, Burt was named All Western New York and played on the same line with future Steelers and Viking great Craig Wolfley and Larry Pfohl who later found fame as professional wrestler Lex Luger.
Earning a scholarship to the University of Miami, Burt still holds many Hurricane records including 177 tackles - 86 assists by a nose guard and four fumbles recovered in a single game. A force on the Hurricanes defensive line, Burt served as co-captain in his senior year and was voted defensive MVP in the 1981 Peach Bowl.
Burt joined the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1981 and soon earned the respect of his peers as a tough competitor on the defensive side of the ball. In 11 NFL seasons, eight with the Giants (1981-88) and three with the San Francisco 49ers (1989-91), Burt played in 118 NFL games recording 615 career tackles, 10 fumble recoveries, and 20 career sacks. Burt was a member of the Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers team that won Super Bowl XXIV.
Although many people often credit former Giants Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor with inventing the coaches Gatorade Shower after wins, Burt was actually the innovator of this ritual in 1985. Harry Carson outlined this fact in his 1987 book entitled Point of Attack: The Defense Strikes Back. In it, Carson states that then Giants head coach Bill Parcells was especially hard on Burt in practice often making him repeatedly raise a 50 lb. dumbbell off the ground to simulate raising his arm powerfully out of his stance at the snap of the ball. Burt used a 1985 Giants win to enact his revenge on Parcells by dousing him with a cooler of Gatorade, a ritual which is still hugely popular today.
Burt, who resides in Saddle River, NJ, retired from the NFL in 1991 and was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
 
 
 
DON COLPOYS
Don Colpoys is so much more than just a former baseball player, coach and administrator. Even though his induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame is based on his numerous accomplishments on and around the diamond, it’s the impact he has made on the lives of countless boys and young men that sets him apart from many of the other baseball experts in Western New York.
Don’s baseball career spans more than 60 years. From his days as a First Team All-Catholic selection at Bishop Timon in the early 1950’s, through his involvement in local amateur baseball to his time as a player and administrator  at the professional level, there is always one place you are sure to find Don Colpoys - standing behind the backstop chatting baseball with anyone who will  listen.
Though it’s difficult to identify a time and place when Don became the focal point of local amateur baseball, one can look to his 14 year involvement with the Simon Pures that really thrust him into the limelight. Coming off an injury-shortened minor league career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, Don played and coached for the Simon Pures from 1957-70. He was 46-0 in his first year as manager and his first four teams posted an incredible 168-16 record including 63 consecutive wins.
Later on, he took the AAABA Al Maroone team to the national tournament three times in six years. Following was a stint as a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies and the manager’s job with Niagara Falls in the New York Penn League. In 1977 he commenced a 26 year career coaching the Canisius College Golden Griffins where he won a school record 325 games, earned Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year honors once and took the Griffs to a pair of post-season tournaments.
During the early years of leading Canisius on the diamond, he also found time to convince Mayor Jimmy Griffin to secure a AA franchise in the Eastern League and he served as the team’s General Manager from 1979-84. During that time, he approached Bob Rich about purchasing the team that has become the Buffalo Bisons AAA franchise.
Since his retirement from Canisius, Don has found numerous ways to stay involved with the game he loves. He assisted an amateur team in Hamilton that just happened to include current Cincinnati Reds slugger Joey Votto on its roster. He has also assisted several amateur and high school teams in the area. In fact, if you pay a visit to a diamond near you, Don may be out there behind the backstop instructing a group of young men about the many nuances of not only hitting a baseball, but about hitting a home run in life, as well.
 
JIM LORENTZ
Jim Lorentz played over 700 regular season and playoff games in ten seasons in the NHL. As good as he was on the ice as a player; he may be more well-known for his work as a member of the Sabres broadcast team for 27 years.
Like most young boys growing up in Waterloo, Ontario, Jim Lorentz dreamed of making it to the NHL one day. After three seasons of junior hockey with the Niagara Falls Flyers of the OHA, Jim joined the professional ranks as a member of the Oklahoma City Blazers, the Boston Bruins minor league affiliate.  The young forward made a splash as rookie-of-the-year, and in year two, he earned league MVP honors while leading the league in scoring with 101 points in 56 games.
His dream came true during the 1968-69 season when he earned a spot on the Bruins roster alongside Phil Esposito, Johnny Bucyk and Wayne Cashman. Lorentz was on the bench when Bobby Orr scored his famous leaping goal to win the Stanley Cup against the St. Louis Blues in 1970. 
After an off-season trade, Lorentz started the next season with the Blues, but was then traded to the New York Rangers during his second season in St. Louis. After a short stint there, Lorentz was shipped to Buffalo and finally got enough ice time to establish himself as an everyday NHL player.
Lorentz was a solid, two-way player for the Sabres. He skated alongside Craig Ramsay and Don Luce on one of the finest defensive lines in the game at the time. He also had the touch of a playmaker and had four 20-goal seasons as a Sabre. He scored 134 goals and over 300 points during his six seasons in Buffalo.
Lorentz retired after the 1977-78 season, and after a brief time as the coach of the Buffalo Junior Sabres, he became a member of the Sabres broadcast team. He worked as the color commentator alongside broadcast legends Ted Darling and Rick Jeanneret for 27 seasons before retiring from the booth in 2007.
Despite his solid play on the ice, and his expertise in the broadcast booth, Lorentz’s most notable claim to fame may be when a bat decided to take flight in Memorial Auditorium during a 1975 Stanley Cup playoff game. After several players tried to knock it out of the air, Lorentz took one swipe at it with his stick and knocked it to the ice. Since then, Lorentz has carried the moniker "Batman."
Lorentz was inducted to the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame February 9, 2010. He has been an avid fisherman since his retirement from broadcasting and he is currently working on a book about salmon fishing.
 
 
PHIL MANKOWSKI
Phil Mankowski is recognized as one of the best baseball players ever to hail from Western New York. Considered one of the top pitchers in Erie County during his youth baseball years, winning championships seemed to be part of his make-up from the time he was in elementary school, at Most Holy Redeemer.  While there, his team won the 1964 Diocesan Baseball Championship and the Buffalo Police Athletic League Baseball Championship in 1965. He also was a standout  in three local baseball leagues: MUNY-AAA, AAABA and American Legion.
After an outstanding four year varsity career at Bishop Turner High School, the left-hand hitting Mankowski was drafted in 1970 at the age of 17 in the ninth round by the Detroit Tigers. Signing Mankowski was the Tigers’ legendary scout and Greater Buffalo Sport Hall of Fame member, Cy Williams.
Mankowski steadily worked his way up through the minor leagues winning a championship in 1975 as a member of the Double-A Montgomery Rebels. A solid season in 1976 with Triple-A Evansville, where he hit .288 with 49 RBI, earned him a promotion to the parent club. Debuting with the Detroit Tigers on August 30, 1976, he demonstrated the major league player he was to be with five multi-hit games during the final month of the season.
When incumbent Tigers third baseman Aurelio Rodriguez went down with an injury in 1977, Mankowski responded with three hits in his first game and batted .316 as his replacement. For the remainder of the season, Mankowski batted .276 and achieved career highs in nearly every offensive category.
In 1979 he was traded to the New York Mets for Richie Hebner. He played his sixth and final year in the major leagues in 1982, appearing in 13 games with the Mets and batting .229. Overall, Mankowski played in 269 Major League games and had a career batting average of .264. The West Seneca resident finished his career with a .962 fielding percentage in 240 games at third base.
After his playing career, Mankowski appeared in the 1984 film <http://espn.go.com/page2/s/closer/020918.html>"The Natural" as the New York Knights third baseman Hank Benz. As a Buffalo native, he was perfect for the movie which was shot in Buffalo, partially at <http://rockpile.buffalonet.org/>War Memorial Stadium.  Mankowski’s major appearance in the film was in the scene when he was gazing into the stands at an attractive female and was hit with a batted ball below the belt.
 
 
STEVE MESLER
Steve Mesler was born and raised in Buffalo, NY where he was a two sport athlete at City Honors. An All-Western New York soccer player, Steve truly excelled on the track and field team and was an Indoor National Scholastic High School Champion in the pentathlon. He led City Honors to four consecutive city championships, setting eight school records while being rewarded with All-City, All-State and All-American honors.
An All-SEC and All-SEC Academic Award winner while on the track & field team at the University of Florida, Mesler decided to pursue bobsled after injuries hampered his track career.
As a member of the United States bobsled team and three-time Olympian in the four-man bobsled, Mesler became the most dominant push athlete in American history. Steve has earned 39 World Cup medals in his career, the most by a U.S. push athlete, and has won both the four-man and combined World Cup championships.  He medaled in 31 of the 47 four-man World Cup events he entered and won gold on all but one of the world’s bobsled tracks.
Mesler’s “Team Night Train” won bronze at the 2004 World Championships and gold at the 2009 World Championships, the first world championship for the U.S. in five decades. At the Winter Olympics in 2010, Mesler and his teammates captured gold in the four-man bobsled in convincing style, setting two course records in the process.  It was the first gold medal for a U.S. four-man bobsled team since 1948.
Mesler and his team have been named the United States Olympic Committee team of the month seven times and the USOC team of the year in 2009 and 2010.  Since his gold medal win in Vancouver, Mesler has been selected by the USOC to be the U.S. Delegate at the International Olympic Medalists Summit in Greece.      
Mesler has been featured in Sports Illustrated three times, was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the new fitness center at City Honors High School bears his name.
Since retiring from bobsled, Mesler now focuses on Classroom Champions, the non-profit organization that he started with his sister.  It aims to directly connect Olympic athletes to classrooms across the country utilizing technology to teach lessons of hard work, perseverance, goal setting and healthy living.
 
 
 
 
CINDY MILLER
The climate in Western New York may not be perfect for an aspiring female to hone her golf skills and to rise to the level of professional, but that didn’t stop Cindy Miller from driving right to the top of her field. 
Cindy took her first golf lessons at the age of 15; however her interest in the sport still did not take hold. It wasn’t until her mom took her to an LPGA event at the age of 17 that she had a change of heart.
With a new-found interest and determination, the Silver Creek native qualified as a walk-on at the University of Miami. The next year, she improved enough to earn a scholarship, and by the time she graduated with a degree in education, Miller had served as her team captain and helped the Hurricanes win the NCAA national championship in both 1977 and 1978.
Cindy returned home and won the New York State Amateur in 1978, and one year later she claimed her first professional victory at the Lake Chabot Women’s Open on the Women’s Professional Golf Tour. That win qualified her to compete on the LPGA Tour, where she is a veteran of five U.S. Women’s Opens.
Cindy now lives in Western New York and is married to Allen Miller, a 15 year veteran of the PGA Tour.  She is a Class A LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Division Member, and twice has served as Vice President of the Northeast Section.
As a player, Cindy has won both the LPGA Northeast and Southeast Section championships.  In 2004 she captured the Golf for Women Magazine LPGA Teaching & Club Professional Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida.  She is currently a member of the LPGA Legends Tour, where she competes with such stars as Nancy Lopez, Beth Daniel and Rosie Jones.  She has six top ten finishes and sits 27th on their career money list.
Cindy was recently named the 2010 LPGA National Teacher of the Year. In addition, she has been named to the 2001, 2006, 2007, and 2008 Top 50 Teachers in the country by Golf for Women Magazine and has been voted twice by her peers as the LPGA Teacher of the Year for the Northeast.  She won LPGA Northeast Section Player of the Year honors in 2005.  Cindy was also listed in the 2004 and 2005 Golf Magazine as a Top Teacher by Region and has been nominated to their prestigious Top 100 Teacher in America list.  In 2010 Cindy was listed among Golf Digest’s Top 50 Women Teachers in America.
In addition to her work as a golf instructor, Cindy is also internationally known for her role on the Golf Channel’s hit reality show, Big Break III-Ladies Only, where her play and finish won the hearts of the viewing audience. Cindy is a member of the National Speakers Association and travels around the country inspiring people to pursue their potential. She is the CEO of Cindy Miller Golf, a company that uses the game of golf as a tool to improve performance of individuals and corporations. They provide corporate training, team building seminars, and executive golf retreats.
LEWIS “DEERFOOT” BENNETT
Lewis Bennett, a Seneca Indian from the Cattaraugus Reservation, dominated the long-distance racing scene in the mid-19th century. Born in 1830, Bennett ran under the name "Deerfoot," and achieved amazing feats on both sides of the Atlantic.
Deerfoot won his first race in 1856 at the Erie County fair, running five miles in 25 minutes. His victory earned him a purse of $50. His reputation spread beyond Western New York, and he raced frequently at fairs all over the Northeast.
An English sports promoter heard of Deerfoot and booked him on a 20-month European tour, where he went from mysterious runner, to entertainer, to world record holder. The intense competition against the best British and Irish runners helped him improve dramatically. With the aid of pace makers, he set world records of 10 miles in 51:26 and 12 miles in 1:02:02.
Deerfoot's physical appearance and manners added to his attraction. He stood tall, at almost 6 feet, and weighed 160 pounds. He ran most of his races with a naked chest, wearing a feather apron around his waist and a band with one eagle feather around his head. His dark complexion was a stark contrast to the sun-starved British athletes. He yelled war whoops as he raced to victory. His popularity extended rapidly beyond the racing crowd, and The Prince of Wales attended many races and contributed to the purse.
Following his return to America, Deerfoot continued to run locally, limiting his races to Western New York, New York City and Boston. In August 1868, he won a five-mile race in Buffalo in 24:15, despite giving the rest of the field a quarter-mile head start.
COOKIE GILCHRIST
Carlton Chester “Cookie” Gilchrist, one of Buffalo’s iconic sports figures who played for the Buffalo Bills from 1962 to 1964, was one of the American Football League’s (AFL) first marquee players.  The bruising 6’ 3”, 250 lb. fullback burst onto the local scene after a six-year career in the Canadian Football League and immediately made his presence felt by becoming the AFL’s first 1,000-yard rusher (1,096 yards for a whopping 5.1 yards per carry) and scoring a league-leading 13 touchdowns to earn AFL “Player of the Year” honors.
Gilchrist was a versatile athlete who also was a place-kicker and kick-off specialist.  His most notable game came in 1963 in a Bills’ victory over the NY Jets when he set a pro football record with 243 yards rushing and became only the fourth pro player to score five touchdowns in a game.  In 1964, he and quarterback Jack Kemp led coach Lou Saban’s squad to an early 9-0 record and went on to defeat the defending champion San Diego Chargers, 20-7 in the AFL Championship game played in Buffalo.
A controversial figure both on and off the field during his three-year tenure in WNY, Cookie was traded to Denver after the 1964 season and played three more years before retiring from pro football in 1967.
 
MICHAEL BRODERICK
It’s difficult to be a legend. However, that is exactly what Mike Broderick is in the world of amateur rowing in Western New York. An Irish immigrant, Mr. Broderick found his way to Buffalo over 100 years ago and, in 1912, became one of the “Founding Fathers” of the West Side Rowing Club. His influence was so great that, two years after establishing the club, he was elected president, a role he would hold until his death 37 years later. In fact, the office of President was retired after Mike passed away in 1951.
Few have made such long-lasting and visible contributions to their passions than Mike Broderick. He led the club through the Great Depression and two world wars. He inspired many future leaders in WNY via his vision, leadership, dedication and commitment to the area’s youth. Under Mike, the West Side Rowing Club, became, and still is, one of the most respected rowing clubs in the world.
Mike used his recognition as President of WSRC to manage the United States Rowing Team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He was only the second American to receive life membership in the Canadian Rowing Association and the Broderick Plate is the most prestigious annual award distributed by WSRC. He was enshrined in the national Rowing Hall of Fame in 1983.
Mike Broderick, a man dedicated to excellence.
WILLIAM G. MORGAN
The sport of volleyball has reached global popularity, with its origin being traced back to a Western New Yorker whose vision created one of the most participated sports in the world.
William G. Morgan was born in Lockport, NY in 1870 and later carried out his undergraduate studies at Springfield College in Massachusetts in 1892. There he met James Naismith, who in 1891 had invented the sport of basketball. Like Naismith, after graduation Morgan pursued a career in physical education at the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association). It was in Holyoke, Massachusetts in 1895 that Morgan invented a sport he named Mintonette, a less vigorous activity for participants that still required significant athletic skill. While watching Morgan demonstrate the game to his students, Dr. Alfred S. Halstead suggested the sport be renamed volleyball as the object of the game was to volley the ball back and forth over the net.
 

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