Canisius will honors its 1963 National Invitation Tournament men's basketball team and four individual athletes with induction into the college's sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 26 at the men's basketball game against Saint Peter's in the Koessler Athletic Center.
The 1963 NIT team defeated Memphis State and Villanova with future NBA players Jim Washington and Wali Jones before meeting Providence in the championship game. Providence, with a lineup which incluced John Thompson, who later became coach at Georgetown, and Ray Flynn, future mayor of Boston, defeated the Griffs, 81-66, ending the longest NIT run in Canisius history.
That team was coached by Canisius Hall of Famer Bob MacKinnon. Four members of the team, Billy O'Connor, Tom Chester, Frank Swiatek and Patrick Turtle, are individual members of the Hall. Others on that team who appeared in the championship game are Dick McClory, Tony Gennari, Tim O'Mara, John Kemmer, Joe Bossert, Larry Hartigan, Jack Oberding and John Brennan.
Individual inductees to be honored are: softball pitcher Andrea Bunten (class of '05), basketball guard Kevin Downey ('05, MBA '07), hockey goalie Bryan Worosz ('05) and MAAC women's basketball MVP Becky Zak ('06).
Additionally, James Lauffenburger ('60, PhD) will be presented the Rev. Paul J. Dugan, S.J., Award for significant contributions to Canisius athletics. Lauffenburger revived football at the college in the fall of 1967 on a touch football basis. It led to the formation of the Canisius football club team which and to status at NCAA Division III and NCAA Division 1AA.