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Legendary ND coach Mike Rapone selected to NYS basketball hall of fame

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Press Release:

Notre Dame High School boys basketball Coach Mike Rapone (NDHS 1971) has not coached a game in well over a year, but that has not stopped the accolades from rolling in on his record-breaking career. 

The school was informed that the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Executive Board has selected Rapone for induction into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame. Rapone was previously inducted into the Notre Dame High School Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Section V Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. 

During his 42-year career at Notre Dame, he amassed a record of 728-212 with an eye-popping winning percentage of over 78%. To put that in perspective an average season over the entire span of his ND career ended with 17 wins and only 5 losses. 

He began his varsity career in the 1980-1981 season and promptly won his first Genesee Region Title and the school’s first-ever Section V Championship in Boys Basketball. The rest would be New York State basketball history as his teams would go on to win 17 consecutive Genesee Region titles to begin his career and 32 out of his first 34 seasons in total. 

During an 11-year span from 1992-2002, his teams would accumulate a record of 225-44 (84%), win 10 GR titles, appear in 9 Section V Championship Games, win 5 Section V titles, and 2 New York State Championships.

In addition to the 728 victories, Rapone’s career totals include 34 Genesee Region Titles, 10 Section V Championships, 5 NYS Far West Regional victories, and 2 New York State Championships (1992 and 2001). He is the current holder of Section V records in wins (728), championship game appearances (19), Section V Championships (10), Section V Tournament #1 Seeds (19), and championships in 4 different classifications (B, C, D, and DD).

The New York State Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place in March 2024, and more details will be provided as they are made available. 

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Notre Dame HS 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner is Nov. 9

By Billie Owens

Submitted photos and press release:

Notre Dame High School is proud to announce that its 2019 Athletic Hall of Fame Induction will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Notre Dame High School, located at 73 Union St. in Batavia.

This fall’s program will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by a dinner at 6:30 p.m. The alumni student-athlete, contributor, service awards and 1967-1969 Varsity Wrestling program recognition portion of the program will follow at 7 p.m.

Inductees to be honored will include:

  • Richard O’Connor ‘64
  • Robert Beyer ‘80 
  • Amy Dwyer ‘83
  • Christopher Sabato ‘98
  • Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel ‘97
  • Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth ‘00
  • Members of the 1967, 1968 and 1969 ND Varsity Wrestling Teams
  • Edward Dwyer – Contributor Category
  • Patty Panepento Daansen, and Dan and Kris Coughlin – Service Recognition

Tickets for this annual event will be $45/person and a table for 10/$400. Tickets will be available through the Notre Dame Advancement Office [585] 343-2783, ext. 106, or visit the Community Tab on the ND website --

Richard O’Connor ‘64

Hailing from Darien Center, Dick O’Connor was regarded as one of ND’s finest all-around student athletes in the decade of the 1960s. A three-sport athlete, Dick earned a total of eight varsity letters – four as a four-year starter on the Fighting Irish varsity football team and two each as a key two-year member of both his Fighting Irish varsity wrestling and track and field teams.

As a member of the varsity football team, Dick earned Bishop Smith League All-Catholic Honorable Mention recognition as a halfback in 1962 and as a fullback in 1963. He had a reputation for being a hard-nosed competitor who played every down like it was his last, a reputation he handed down to his three eventual ND Hall of Fame brothers Dave ’67 [HOF 2017], Dan ’69 [HOF 2016] and Dennis ’72 [HOF 1996].

Dick’s senior season was unfortunately cut short by a season-ending knee injury incurred in the 1963-64 opener at Cardinal O’Hara in Tonawanda. Despite not being able to finish the season, Dick’s support of his teammates never wavered as he continued to offer encouragement and leadership on the sidelines until season’s end.

Dick’s passion for always giving it his all on the gridiron carried over to his two varsity seasons as a member of the Fighting Irish wrestling and track and field teams. Wrestling in the heavyweight class, Dick went undefeated in dual meets during his junior season.

He nearly replicated this feat as a senior coming up short in his last match of the year versus an unlimited weight class opponent from St. Mary’s of Lancaster. Revenge would be his as he would rise to the occasion and defeat this same opponent two weeks later in the first New York State Cathoic High School Wrestling Championships held in Rochester, thus becoming ND’s first ever New York State Catholic High School wrestling champion!

As a member of the Fighting Irish track and field team, Dick went undefeated in Bishop Smith League competition in both the shot put and discus during his junior and senior years. He finished second in shot put during his senior year in the All-Catholic meet, which featured all teams from both the Bishop Smith and Bishop Burke Leagues in competition.

In recognition for his outstanding senior year athletic accomplishments, he was recognized by the Batavia Lions Club with their prestigious Bill Cook Award designating him as the top student-athlete at Notre Dame High School.

Dick is the recipient of an AAS degree in Ophthalmic Dispensing from Erie County Technical Institute in 1970 and a Doctor of Optometry [OD] degree from Southern College of Optometry in 1975. He began his Optometry career in New Orleans, working in an inner city health clinic and private office specializing in vision therapy in 1975.

He has worked in the optometry field in Western New York since 1977 and currently heads up Vision Development of WNY in Elma, providing behavioral optometry/vision therapy while specializing in children with learning problems and adults with traumatic brain injuries.

Dick’s 2019 induction marks the first time that four brothers are now charter members of the ND Athletic Hall of Fame! Dick and his wife, Debbie, currently reside in East Aurora.

Robert Beyer ‘80

A native of Le Roy, Bob Beyer entered ND at the beginning of his junior year and would proceed to produce eye-popping performances during both his junior and senior years as a member of Fighting Irish football, basketball and baseball teams.

As a member of ND’s varsity football program, Bob was a key member of two Genesee Region [GR] Championship teams [1978, 1979] as well as the 1978 Section V NYSPHSAA Class D Championship team. He earned GR All-Star status and Democrat and Chronicle All Greater Rochester Honorable Mention recognition during both his junior and senior years of competition, while playing a key role in leading ND to a two-year overall record of 15 – 3.

On the hard court, Bob also earned Genesee Region [GR] All-Star recognition during both his junior and senior years while leading the Irish hoopsters to an overall two-year record of 37 – 6 and two Genesee Region [GR] boys basketball titles [1979, 1980). He was recognized as a member of the Medina Mustangs Christmas All-Tournament tournament as well as the ND varsity boys basketball team MVP during his senior season at ND.

On the diamond, Bob was a key member of two Genesee Region [GR] Championship baseball teams, as well as two NYSPHSAA Section V Class D Championship teams during his junior and senior years. He helped propel ND’s varsity baseball to a two-year overall record of 38 – 2.

He was the recipient of the Batavia Lions Club prestigious Bill Cook Award during the conclusion of his senior year. The Bill Cook Award is presented annually to the most outstanding student-athlete at both Notre Dame High School and Batavia High School by the local chapter of the Lions Club.

Bob graduated with honors from both Notre Dame and Alfred University and earned his master's degree at the University of Albany. He played collegiately as a star member of the Alfred University Saxon basketball program until a knee injury suffered in his senior year ended his actual playing career.

Staying close to the hardwood, he has continued his love of basketball by pursuing a very successful coaching career courtside at both the college and professional levels for the past 35 years.

His 20-year collegiate coaching résumé has included men’s basketball stints at Albany, Siena [as both an assistant and head men’s basketball coach], Wisconsin, Northwestern, Texas Tech and Dayton. His 15-year NBA coaching career has included assistant coaching positions in Toronto, Orlando, Charlotte, Golden State, Detroit and Oklahoma City prior to his current role as assistant in the Sacramento Kings organization.

He currently resides in Sacramento, Calif., and serves as an assistant coach for the NBA Sacramento Kings.

Amy Dwyer ‘83

A Batavia resident, Amy Dwyer will go down in the annals of Notre Dame High School Lady Irish athletics as one of the most all around talented student-athletes to have ever played at 73 Union Street!

Amy was a four-sport [soccer, volleyball, basketball and softball] varsity level participant throughout her high school career and earned a total of 16 varsity letters in the process! She also had the distinction of captaining each of her athletic teams during her senior year.

As a volleyball team member, she played a key role in helping ND Coach Rhonda DiCasolo’s volleyball program earn back-to-back Section V NYSPHSAA Class D Championships [1981, 1982] while also compiling a perfect 17-0 record during her senior [1982] season. Amy was also named ND’s Outstanding Defensive volleyball team member as a senior. ND’s overall record from her sophomore year on was an eye-popping 41 – 3!

She also earned honors as both her varsity basketball and varsity softball team’s MVP as a senior [1983] in addition to being named ND’s women’s basketball team Outstanding Offensive Player during the same season. She also earned the distinction of being the leading goal scorer during her senior ND soccer season.

Amy’s stellar senior season for the Blue and Gold resulted in her receiving the prestigious Father David J. Scheider Sports Loyalty Award, the Dave Darron Courage Award and the coveted 1983 ND Female Athlete-of-the-Year Award.

Upon graduation from ND in 1983, Amy entered Nazareth College of Rochester where she continued her love of competing by playing collegiate volleyball at the Division III level prior to earning her B.A. degree in Sociology in 1987.

A Pittsford resident, Amy is currently in her 14thyear with Rochester-based Wegmans Food Pharmacy where she received has received ongoing recognition for outstanding sales, as well as serving as an active member of Wegmans Food Safety Team.

Christopher Sabato ‘97

A career 16-varsity letter recipient, Corfu resident Chris Sabato will go down in the annals of ND athletics as a stellar three-sport [football, wrestling and track and field] student-athlete. A mainstay and key member on each Fighting Irish varsity level team he was a member of, he received the ultimate recognition of 1998 ND Male Athlete-of-the-Year.

Chris earned four varsity letters as a member of the Coach Bill Sutherland’s ND football program and received Genesee Region [GR] first team All-Star recognition in both his junior and senior years. He served as team captain during his senior year, rushing for 1000+ yards and setting the ND single game rushing record [256 yards] versus the Livingston County league York Golden Knights on Sept. 27, 1997.

He began his varsity wrestling career as a seventh-grader at St. Joseph’s Elementary in Batavia en route to earning six varsity letters as a stalwart member of the Fighting Irish varsity wrestling team. Chris was a three-time Genesee Region [GR] champion [1994, 1997, 1998], a two-time Section V NYSPHSAA Class D champion at 140 lbs. [1997, 1998] and a one-time Section V NYSPHSAA Class D 112 lb. second-place finisher [1994].

Chris captained the ND wrestling team as a senior and still holds school records for career [134] and single season [32] wins as well as career pins.

He also began his star-studded track and field career as a St. Joseph’s seventh-grader and earned four Genesee Region [GR] All-Star team recognitions [1995 – 1998] by the time he graduated.

He was a member of ND’s 1995 Genesee Region [GR] Championship team, as well as winning the 400m run and helping the 1600m relay team set a new GR league record [3:38]. He was also a key member of this same 1600m relay team which captured the 1995 Section V NYSPHSAA Class D title.

Chris earned Genesee Region [GR] recognition for winning individual titles in the 100m, 200m, long jump and pole vault in both his junior and senior years, as well as a seventh-place finish in the 1998 NYSPHSAA Class C/D state meet in the 100 meter dash. In addition to being a member of ND’s school-record-setting 1600m relay team, Chris also finished his solid track and field career as ND’s 220m [22.7] school record holder!

Chris attended Alfred University after graduating from ND where he earned a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering [2002]. He continued to pursue his love of track and field at Alfred where he was a three-time All-Conference NYSCTC [New York State Collegiate Track Conference] pole vault champion.

He served as a collegiate track and field coach working with sprinters and jumpers for 11 years [two at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., and the other nine at Willamette University in Salem, Ore.] He has been at Willamette University for the past 15 years where he currently serves as assistant athletic director for Media. In this position, he is responsible for digital and creative content for the Willamette University Athletics Department including brand management and broadcast services.

Chris and his wife, Megan, are the proud parents of their 6-year-old daughter, Lucy, and currently reside in South Salem, Ore.

Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel ‘97

Maureen Del Plato Braunscheidel was a solid four-year, three-sport student-athlete who captained her volleyball, basketball and softball varsity-level teams as a senior, the same year she was also honored as ND’s Female Athlete-of-the-Year [1997].

She was a two-time Genesee Region [GR] volleyball All-Star [1995, 1996] and senior year [1997] Coach’s Award recipient who helped lead coach Rhonda DiCasolo’s Lady Irish team to an 41-3 overall record, a Section V Class D semifinal appearance during her junior season [1995] and a Section V Class D final appearance [1996] during her senior year. Maureen capped off her successful volleyball career by being selected to the 1996 Section V Class D NYSPHSAA All-Tournament team.

A key contributor on ND’s first ever Section V Class D NYSPHSAA Sectional basketball title in 1997, Maureen captained her team as a senior and was a two-time Genesee Region [GR] All-Star [1996, 1997] playing for Coach Bill Wade. She was also named to the Section V Class D NYSPHSAA 1997 Sectional All-Star team. She finished her hoop career as 25thall-time on the ND girls basketball scoring list.

Maureen earned Genesee Region [GR] All-Star recognition and the ND Coach’s award as a member of her Lady Irish softball team during her senior [1997] year. She finished her softball career as the leader in career triples.

The President of the ND class of 1998 and a NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete academic award recipient throughout her ND playing days, Maureen earned a bachelor's degree in Elementary and Special Education from Canisius College of Buffalo in 2001 and a master's in Exceptional Education from SUNY Buffalo State in 2006. She returned to Canisius to earn a building and district level certificates in Educational Administration in 2009.

She has served as a teacher [2001-2008] and Assistant Principal [2008-2013] in the Amherst Central School District, as well as the Principal of Douglas J. Regan Intermediate School in the Starpoint Central School District [2013-2016]. Maureen presently serves as the assistant superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology in the Starpoint school system, a position she has held since 2016.

While in Amherst, Maureen also served as the Middle School Modified Girls soccer coach [2002 – 2006] as well as the Amherst JV Girls basketball coach [2004 – 2007]. She is the founder of EdCampWNY, an annual educational professional development opportunity conference which is currently heading into its third year this month!

She currently resides in Williamsville, New York and is the proud parent of daughters Molly [10] and Megan [7]!

Jennifer Sutherland Forsyth ‘00

Jen Sutherland Forsyth left her mark in the annals of ND women’s sports lore as a stalwart member of Lady Irish volleyball, swimming and track and field teams in the latter half of the 1990s.

Jen was a key four-year member of Coach Rhonda DiCasolo’s varsity teams in the decade of the 1990s, which compiled a 66-10 win-loss four-year record between 1996-1999. She was a member of three Genesee Region [GR] Championships teams [1996, 1998, 1999] and received Genesee Region [GR] All-Star recognition as well as Section V Class D NYSPHSAA All-Tournament team recognition on two occasions [1998, 1999]. Her junior and senior year all-star performances were instrumental in qualifying ND for consecutive [1998, 1999] Section V Class D Sectional volleyball final appearances.

As a senior, Jen received the Coach’s Award, was named team MVP and also received coveted All-State volleyball recognition when named a 3d team All-State selection.

As a four-year member of the varsity swim team, she was a four-time Genesee region [GR] All-Star and earned the 1997 Most Improved Award as well as the 2000 team MVP award for helping to lead her Lady Irish swim team to the 2000 Genesee Region League title. As a junior and as a senior, she was undefeated in the 200m and 400m freestyle relay which, incidentally, set a school record during the 1999-2000 season. She finished her outstanding swim career as a member of seven of ND's top 10 record-holder lists.

Jen earned Genesee Region [GR] league track and field All-Star recognition as a junior and as a senior. She was a member of ND’s GR Champion 1600m relay team during her senior year [2000] when she also received the ND Coach’s Award.

Jen closed out her award winning career at ND by being named ND’s Female Athlete-of-the-Year in 2000.

Jen attended Alfred State College upon graduation from ND in 2000 and earned an associate degree in Liberal Arts and Social Sciences [2000-2002]. While at Alfred State, she captained the Women Pioneers collegiate volleyball team for two years and was named MVP in 2001. She also ran track for one season and medaled in the NJCA [National Junior College Association] 4x800m relay event.

She attended West Virginia University after receiving her Alfred State degree and graduated in 2004 with a B.S. Degree in Sociology. While a student at West Virginia, she was a member of the Mountaineer Womens’ Crew team and was awarded the Most Improved Crew team award in 2003 and a prestigious Division I Big East Scholarship.

Jen currently works at the Arc of Genesee Orleans in Batavia as a Quality Assurance Assistant/Investigator, as well as the co-facilitator of the “Friends for the Future” Self-Advocacy Group.

Jen and her husband Kevin [ND ’98] currently reside in Basom and are the proud parents of daughter Nora [1]. They are also currently awaiting the birth of their son Patrick in 2020!

Jen now joins her dad Bill ’67 [ND HOF ‘95] -- legendary Fighting Irish Football and Baseball Coach, Social Studies teacher and Administrator– as the first father-daughter ND Hall of Fame inductees in school history!

Team Recognition: ND Varsity Wrestling Program 1967, 1968, 1969

Coached by the legendary Ed Sullivan, Fighting Irish Wrestling teams from 1967 – 1969 combined for the best three year span dual meet record [37 – 5] in school history, which included three consecutive Bishop Smith League Championships and two overall All-Catholic Tournament Championships! A breakdown of team accomplishments includes:

1967 – Overall dual meet record [13 – 2], second place in the Medina Mustang Tournament, Co-Bishop Smith League Champions with St. Mary’s of Lancaster and the first All-Catholic Tournament Championship in school history! Six team members earned individual All-Catholic recognition: brothers Mike and Tony Cinquino; brothers Dave [captain] and Dan O’Connor; Bill Johnson and Tony Peca.

1968 – Overall dual meet record [11 – 2], third place at the NYS Catholic High School Wrestling State Championship Tournament held at Cardinal Mooney High School in Rochester, second consecutive year as both the Bishop Smith League Champions and overall All-Catholic Champions. Tony Cinquino and Dan O’Connor earned individual All-Catholic title recognition.

1969 – Overall dual meet record [13 – 1], third consecutive year as Bishop Smith League Championship and overall All-Catholic Tournament Champions. Four team members earned individual All Catholic recognition including Tony Cinquino [school record 61 consecutive dual meet wins], Dan O’Connor [captain], Don Kelly and Bruce Briggs. Cinquino’s and O’Connor’s individual championships were their third in consecutive years.

A collective roster of Varsity Wrestling team members from 1967 - 1969 being honored includes [in alphabetical order]:

Bob Balbick, Bruce Briggs, Mike Carragher, Joe Chiminio, Tony Cinquino, Mike Cinquino, Sal Cintorino, Bob Cline, Dave Dudek, Bill Fava, Tony Forti, Bill Geer, David Jamalkowski, Bill Johnson, Don Kelly, Ron Kelly, Don Linsey Jr., Tim Lippold, Charles Mullen, Tom Murray, Dan O'Connor, Dave O'Connor, Tony Peca, John Sorensen, Ricco Tepedino, and John Yanik [Mgr.]

Contributor – Edward Dwyer

Edward Dwyer, affectionately known in Batavia and throughout the New York-Penn professional baseball league as “Mr. Baseball,” was truly a civic-minded businessman who was widely respected for his leadership and promotion of many community and church organizations such as the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Batavia Jaycees, St. Joseph’s Church Holy Name Society and the Notre Dame High School Sports Boosters Club.

He was an individual who preferred not to call attention to himself or the countless good deeds he did for others, whether it was serving as the past President of the Genesee County Baseball Club promoting the growth of Batavia’s first professional baseball team -- the Batavia Clippers -- or through his ongoing behind-the-scenes support of Notre Dame High School and the Notre Dame Sports Boosters Club.

A strong supporter of Catholic education in Genesee County, Dwyer generously promoted and supported the existence of Notre Dame High School from its beginnings in 1956 as well as being one of the founding fathers of the ND Sports Booster Club.

He specifically made it a point to support the initial growth of the ND baseball program in its early days by helping to provide the necessary supplies needed to start a program from scratch through his ties to the Batavia Clippers professional baseball organization and Wilson Sporting Goods organization. As previously mentioned, all of his gracious support was rendered without fanfare and without his need to be recognized publicly.

It is, therefore, for his unwavering support of Notre Dame High School and our original Sports Boosters Club from its early years of existence, that the Notre Dame Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to induct Ed Dwyer to the Hall of Fame in the category of Contributor.

Special Service to ND Recognition Award Acknowledgements -- Patty Panepento Daansen, and Dan and Kris Coughlin

Patty Panepento Daansen and Dan and Kris Coughlin are being recognized this year for their longstanding loyalty to and support of the Notre Dame Boys Basketball program.

Patty Panepento Daansen began keeping score for ND JV and Varsity basketball teams in 1983 and, with the exception of one year [2000] when she was living in Austin, Texas, has volunteered to serve in the capacity of official scorekeeper for legendary ND hoop coach Mike Rapone ’71 [HOF 1996] for the past 35 years! During this time period, she has enjoyed being courtside to watch and cheer for her sons Pete ’88, Dave ’89 and Rob ’93 during their ND basketball careers. Being courtside during Coach Rapone’s 1stNYSPHSAA Class D Championship in Glens Falls on St. Patrick’s Day [1992] in which son Rob played a key role was a memory she’ll never forget.

Currently a Registered Nurse, Patty began her nursing career at UMMC and has worked at Rochester General Hospital for the past 25 years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neurology and Critical Care.

Dan and Kris Coughlin’s connection with the Notre Dame Boys Basketball program also began with their sons’ Daniel’s ’97 and Patrick’s ’00 involvement in boys basketball; first as fifth- and sixth-grade members of St. Joseph’s Elementary School level teams, then as members of ND junior high Modified level teams and eventually as ND JV and Varsity team members.

Dan initially served as a youth coach for St. Joe’s Elementary level teams and then moved on to ND to assist Kevin Smith as the ND Modified level coach. He moved to the high school level when Dan was a freshman on the ND JV team at ND [1993] and has been running the score clock for ND boys basketball games ever since for the past 25 years!

Kris also began her dedicated service to the Boys basketball program as the official scorer for St. Joe’s fifth- and -sixth-grade level teams. She also began keeping statistics for the ND boys basketball program during son Dan’s 1993 JV season and, like husband Dan, has been also been doing so for the past 25 years. On occasion she also doubles as scorer table shot clock operator. Of note, Kris never missed a ND boys basketball game, home or away, between 1993 and 2000!

Dan retired from Xerox Corporation Research and Development in 2016. Kris has served as a RN since 1980. She worked at the Genesee County Health Department as a Public Health Nurse for 18 years before moving on to the NYS Health Department where she provides oversight of home care agencies in the 17 WNY and Rochester Region counties.

Batavia HS inducts seven into Athletic Hall of Fame for 2019

By Howard B. Owens


Batavia High School held its annual Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner on Saturday night at Batavia Downs.

Inducted were:

  • Elizabeth Varland, 2002, Soccer, Indoor Track & Field, Outdoor Track & Field
  • Ryan Gugel, 2005, Football, Wrestling, Ice Hockey, Baseball
  • Stephanie Conway, 2003, Cross-country, Indoor Track & Field, Outdoor Track & Field
  • Amanda Page, 2006, Soccer, Basketball, Softball
  • Sumiyya Hunter Roff, 2004, Cross Country, Indoor Track & Field, Outdoor Track & Field
  • Jennifer Gurrant, 2005, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Indoor Track & Field, Outdoor Track & Field
  • Phillip Santiago, 2003, Basketball








Cougar Pride Campaign seeks support for proposed Athlete Hall of Fame inside Call Arena

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Last weekend Genesee Community College welcomed more than 300 alumni, students, friends and community members from all around the GLOW region and the world to celebrate Homecoming Weekend in Batavia.

From the annual Cougar Crawl to the Car Cruise, plus the Alumni Soccer Game and the 5K Race for the Future -- the perfect weather gave way to a perfect weekend at GCC. 

This year, the occasion also kick-started something new -- the Cougar Pride Campaign -- which officially began on Saturday evening at the "Tap Off" -- a term with a double meaning that is used in basketball but also in beer brewing. Therefore, event planners borrowed the term for Cougar Pride kick-off, inviting the Smokin' Eagle BBQ & Brew of LeRoy to provide appropriate refreshments of locally brewed Roger's Beer and a few wings. 

The program is chaired by Mickey J. Hyde, GCC Class of 1987, a 2010 inductee of GCC's Athletic Hall of Fame, and vice president at the Bank of Castile's Le Roy Branch.

The goal of the Cougar Pride Campaign is to raise the necessary funds to create a new Athletic Hall of Fame inside the Richard C. Call Arena to recognize the accomplishments of past and future student-athletes, coaches and GCC sport teams.

Guests at the "Tap Off" were the first to see the proposed design of a new Athletic Hall of Fame destined for the second floor of the Arena, and also a short video about the campaign.

The major components of the new design will include: a 10-foot-long header to welcome visitors; a timeline of athletic achievements dating back to 1967; many photographs; a dynamic display in the trophy case; and an interactive, digital kiosk full of information and photographs about GCC's athletic program. 

"Our student-athletes have always been a source of great pride at GCC and now, through the generosity of the Call family, the College has an amazing sports complex with high-tech PE classrooms, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a regulation turf field with a press box, the field house and so much more," Kristen Schuth, GCC's athletic director said.

"An Athletic Hall of Fame worthy not only of this facility, but of our students' accomplishments is truly needed to round-out this incredible space."

Donations to support the Cougar Pride Campaign can be made online here, by mail with checks payable to Genesee Community College Foundation and mailed to GCC Foundation, C212, One College Road, Batavia, NY 14020.

To discuss specific arrangements, contact Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Jennifer Wakefield at (585) 343-0055, ext. 6265, or via email:

"The 'Tap Off' was the perfect kickoff. Stepping out of the heat on Saturday for a cold beverage from The Smokin' Eagle and to hear about this campaign was exciting," Wakefield said. "Our student- athletes work so hard and deserve to be recognized appropriately.

"The GCC coaches do so much to support them and help them succeed not only on the fields and courts, but in life overall. I'm excited that this new Hall of Fame will be able to tell these stories in a relevant and interactive way."

(Photo above from GCC of an artist's rendering of the college's proposed Athletic Hall of Fame inside the Richard C. Call Arena.)

Nominations accepted now through April 30 for Oakfield-Alabama Alumni Hall of Fame

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Nominations are currently being accepted for this year’s induction class of the Oakfield-Alabama Alumni Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame recognizes outstanding OACS alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen field after high school through significant contributions to their career, community or through personal achievements.

If you know a person who meets the following criteria, please consider nominating him/her for this prestigious honor:

  1. Nominees must be graduates of OACS or one of its predecessors, or have been active in school classes and activities during their senior year. (Nominees who left school while in good standing to perform military service are also eligible. Deceased alumni are not eligible for induction until the fifth anniversary of the year of their death.)
  2. Nominees must have graduated prior to 2003.
  3. Selection is based on achievement after leaving OACS which includes a worthy record in more than one, and exemplary achievement in at least one of the following:
  • Job-related achievements
  • Professional honors and awards, professional affiliations, publications
  • Civic or community involvement
  • Personal achievements/accomplishments
  • Positive impact on the communities in the Oakfield-Alabama school district

Anyone may submit a nomination for any person meeting the criteria stated above. Nominations must be made during the nomination period only (March 1 – April 30) by using the Online Nomination Form or the PDF Nomination Form (see links below). Electronically submitted nominations are strongly preferred over mailed-in, hardcopy nominations.

  1. Online Nomination Form
  2. PDF Nomination Form

Le Roy Oatkan Knights announce 2016 Sports Hall of Fame inductees

By Billie Owens
The Le Roy Oatkan Knights Sports Hall of Fame, Inc., announces the 2016 Class of Inductees.  
The ceremony is on Friday morning, July 15th, at the Le Roy High School Auditorium. It is free and open to the public. Casual attire. Doors open at 9 with light refreshments served. The Ceremony begins at 10 a.m.
Live music will be provided by the Le Roy Town Band, under the director of Maria Neale. Among the tunes to be performed are: "The Le Roy Alma Mater," "Star-spangled Banner," and "On LeRoyans."
For more information, visit   or stop by the village and town hall.
Donations are greatly appreciated and are tax-deductible.
Le Roy Oatkan Knights Sports Hall of Fame, Inc., 2016 Inductees:
Joseph Crnkovich                  ‘48
1966 Baseball Team               ‘66
Amy Lapp                                ‘93
Joseph Condidorio Sr.           ‘53
Wayne Alexander                   ‘73
1995 Football Team                ‘95
Betsy Lapp                             ‘98
John Eppolito                         ‘54
Jon Gerlach                            Coach/Teacher
Robert Woodruff                    ‘59

Nominations sought for O-A Alumni Hall of Fame, deadline is April 30

By Billie Owens

Press release:

Nominations are currently being accepted for this year's induction class of the Oakfield-Alabama Alumni Hall of Fame. It recognizes outstanding OACS alumni who have achieved distinction in their lives and chosen field after high school through significant contributions to their career, community or through personal achievements.

If you know a person who meets the following criteria, please consider nominating him/her for this prestigious honor:

  • Nominees must be graduates of OACS or one of its predecessors, or have been active in school classes and activities during their senior year; (Nominees who left school while in good standing to perform military service are also eligible. Deceased alumni are not eligible for induction until the 5th anniversary of the year of their death.)
  • Nominees must have graduated prior to 1999;
  • Selection is based on achievement after leaving OACS, which includes a worthy record in more than one, and exemplary achievement in at least one of the following: job-related achievements; professional honors and awards, professional affiliations, or publications; civic or community involvement; personal achievements/accomplishments; positive impact on the communities in the Oakfield-Alabama school district.

Anyone may submit a nomination for any person meeting the criteria stated above. Nominations must be made during the nomination period only (March 1 - April 30) by using the Online Nomination Form or the PDF Nomination Form (see links below). Electronically submitted nominations are strongly preferred over mailed-in, hard-copy nominations.

Online Nomination Form -
PDF Nomination Form -

Two Inducted into Hall of Fame at Batavia Downs

By Rick Franclemont

Batavia Downs Casino Hall of Fame night on September 10th, 2011 yielded two new inductees.


Patsy Rapone, who passed away after a fight with brain cancer, was inducted with an impressive 14,765 starts, 2,643 wins, and lifetime earnings of $5,821,089.


Ben Webster was also inducted and present for the honor.


Ben's 4,378 wins and lifetime earnings of $43,197,645 earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Pictured with Ben Webster is Don Suozzi, an aquintance of over 50 years.


Congratulations to both new members of the Batavia Downs Hall of Fame!



Nothing but smiles at the O-A Gymnasium

By Tasia Boland

Saturday evening at the Oakfield-Alabama High School, the late 1st. Lt. Harmon J. Norton, Dr. Kenneth Bradt, Dr. Robert B. Diasio and Donald R. Carroll were inducted into the O-A Hall of Fame.

The Hornets' gymnasium was filled with about 100 friends and family of the inductees.

O-A students, Jennie Beverly, Leah Snyder, and Ashley Colopy introduced each inductee with a short bio. Wess Audsley, CEO/Director of the Genesee/Wyoming YMCA introduced Donald Carroll.

First Lt. Norton’s grandson, Harmon Norton accepted the award on behalf of his grandfather. He came all the way from Texas because of a quick Google search on his grandfather's name. 

He said the first thing that came up was the article from The Batavian. Once he started reading, he realized it was about his grandfather. He contacted Joe Cassidy, the Oakfield Town Historian, and arranged for a visit.

It seems as though he's been following his grandfather around, from enjoying the same hobby of airplanes and piloting, to being where, a 100 years earlier, his grandfather grew up -- in Oakfield. He thanked The Batavian for its story.

"Without your article, I would not be here today.”

When Dr. Bradt came to the podium, he not only got the audience laughing but enlightened us about the impact others have on your life and decisions. He started with a joke about making just a few notes for his speech while pulling out paper upon paper. Then he joked about his popularity with his female classmates, but sweetly gave the credit for his happiness to his wife of 62 years, Thelma.

He ended his speech challenging the audience to give some thought to the people who have made a difference in your life and to tell them how they influenced you.

Dr. Diasio was unable to attend the event. His classmate, Jan Witkowski,  who accepted the award for Diasio, said “We all knew Bob was destined for great things. We called him Doc from the very beginning.”

YMCA official Audsley shared memories of  Carroll and the struggles Carroll had as a child.

“He will do just about anything for people looking for help,” said Audsley. He said Carroll’s drive to help others is so they don’t have to go through what he went through.

The picture above is of previous and new inducted members. Below are this year's inductees by themselves.

The audience stood up as Carroll walked up to the podium with tears of gratitude flowing down his cheeks.

I got goose bumps. The moment seemed magical.

I felt hopeful and strenghtened as I listened to comments about Carroll's community contributions, and knowing all the inductees -- past and present -- have given above and beyond for others.

My husband even felt uplifted. The ceremony made me realize that people don't remember the material things as much as they do the moments spent with those they really care about.

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