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Brandt, Offerman, Rustich and Westphal comprise Pride of WNY

This is the eighth in a  series of profiles on the 2016 inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

Among the inductees to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame this year are four new members of the Pride of Western New York category. These posthumous honors recognize the rich, and sometimes forgotten, history while recognizing the contributions and achievements of some of the area’s finest athletes and administrators.

This year’s Pride class includes Carl Brandt, who stared in track and field, Frank Offermann, a Buffalo Bisons baseball executive, Frank Rustich, a boxing and pro football official and Bob Westphal, the founder of the Buffalo Regals youth hockey team.

Carl Brandt

  • Started running at Hutchison Central Technical High School.
  • Set a United States National Junior 600-yard indoor record in 1917, a mark that stood for 23 years.
  • Was a member of the Buffalo High School mile relay team which won a national championship.
  • Suspended his track career when he enlisted during World War I.
  • In 1920 he was part of a mile-relay team that shattered the world record by nearly five seconds with a time of 3:21.
  • Brandt retired from competitive running in 1928.
  • A member of the Riverside Hall of Fame, he died in 1954.

Frank Offermann

  • Was owner and president of the Buffalo Bison baseball team from 1928 until his death in 1935.
  • A marketing expert, he is credited with increasing the popularity of the team through promotions.
  • Under his leadership, the Bisons became one of the first minor league teams to have radio broadcasts of their games.
  • He also brought night games to Buffalo in 1930. Those night games allowed fans with day jobs to attend the games, keeping the franchise alive during the Depression era.
  • He was an inaugural inductee of the Buffalo Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Frank Rustich

  •  Was a three-sport start at Lackawanna High School.
  • Played basketball, football and boxed at Canisius College in the mid-1930s. Was a standout running back with the Golden Griffins.
  •  Spent eight seasons in the American Footall League (1961-68) and worked 227 professional fights.
  • In 1973 he was the “third man in the ring” for the famous Muhammad Ali vs. Ken Norton fight. That was the afternoon Norton broke Ali’s jaw on his way to winning the NABF Heavyweight title.
  • Is a member of the Canisius College Athletic Hall of Fame, the Lackawanna High School Athletic Hall of Fame and the San Diego Sports Officials Hall of Fame.
  • Died in 1994 at the age of 81.

Bob Westphal

  • Founded the Buffalo Regals Hockey Club in 1954 and spent 55 years coaching more than 10,000 children.
  • While his teams competed at highly competitive levels and played for national championships, his focus was on skill development and giving kids a positive hockey experience.
  • Often donated equipment and gave players rides to and from the rink.
  • Also directed the rink program at the Roosevelt Outdoor Rink was the first coach to lead Hutch-Tech in the Explorer League.
  • Received the Mike Duffett Award in the mid-1980s as the top amateur hockey coach in Western New York.
  • Died in 2013 at the age of 77.

The GBSHOF induction dinner is Oct. 6 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased at the www.gbshof.com

email: amoritz@buffnews.com

 

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