Release Date: August 6, 2010
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A University at Buffalo men's basketball standout, a record-breaking swimmer and a former UB president will be among those inducted into the Dr. and Mrs. Edmond J. Gicewicz Family UB Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 17 in the Center for the Arts atrium on the UB North Campus.
In all, eight individuals will be honored for their support of and service to the UB athletics program. The induction ceremony will begin at 6 p.m., followed by a dessert reception with open bar at 7:30 p.m.
This year's inductees:
Turner Battle, BA '05, of Amherst, N.Y., the most decorated of all UB basketball players in the Mid-American Conference, was its player of the year his senior season and an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American. During that 2004-05 campaign, the Bulls finished with a 23-10 record, were beaten by one point in overtime by Ohio in the MAC Championship game and advanced to the second round of the NIT Tournament. Battle averaged team-highs of 15.5 points and 4.4 steals, and logged the most minutes (1,160) by a Bull during a single season. His contributions on and off the court were immeasurable, leading the Bulls in scoring his last three seasons and finishing his career with 1,414 points to stand fifth on the all-time list. He also topped the Bulls in assists all four years and in steals for two. In 2003-04, he was chosen a MAC second-team pick after earning honorable mention as a sophomore and all-freshman in his initial campaign. When his college athletic career ended, he was among the top five in eight of 11 categories.
At one point during her UB swimming career, Jennefer Brankovsky, BS '05, of Toronto, Canada, held 11 UB records and still maintains three: the 100- and 200-yard butterfly and the 200-yard individual medley, with a fourth record broken just this past season. A six-time MAC champion and swimmer-of-the-year in 2003, Brankovsky was named first-team All-MAC each of her four seasons at UB, team MVP each year and UB women's athlete of the year twice. Brankovsky placed first in her senior year in the MAC's 200-yard breaststroke and the 200- and 400-yard individual medleys and was the recipient of the UB swimming and diving team's Coach's Award. Her time of 02:01:91 in the 200-yard IM in the 2003 MAC championship meet was the fastest in the event since competition began in 1981 and shattered all previous records. Brankovsky, who graduated magna cum laude while pursuing her degree in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, was a 2004 recipient of the Pillars of Leadership Award presented by the Division of Athletics.
William R. Greiner (posthumously), former UB president, provost and professor in the Law School, along with his wife, Carol, was a fan of all UB's teams. Most visible from their basketball seats in Alumni Arena near the baseline, Greiner's contributions to UB over the course of his 42-year association with the university are many and include spearheading the effort to elevate its sports program to the highest level of NCAA competition. Greiner was the visionary who pushed for moving UB to a Division I athletics program, realizing the positive impact it could have on the university and the Western New York community. The university community basked in the success of the men's basketball team in 2005 when it nearly went the NCAA Tournament, but was foiled by a last-second overtime loss in the MAC title game. Three years later, the football team was a MAC champion in a nail-biting season that culminated in an appearance in the International Bowl.
Jeffrey Howard EdM '93 & BA '90, of Farmington, N.Y., wrestled for UB as the program transitioned from Division III to Division II and earned the opportunity to compete at the highest level of competition as a junior. That season, Howard volunteered to drop to a lower weight class of 158 pounds, which helped the UB squad emerge as the NCAA Division II Northeast Regional champion. That performance earned him a spot in the national championships, where he finished as runner-up, qualifying him to wrestle in the Division I Championships. He led the team in takedowns, two- and-three-point near falls, riding time and match points. His teammates voted him co-MVP and most improved wrestler, and he also was named UB's male athlete of the year. As a senior and team captain, he moved up to the 167 pound weight class and led the Bulls in match points. He also won the New York State Collegiate Championship in his class, was second in the Division II Northeast Regionals and finished runner-up in two more significant tournaments: the West Virginia Open and the Rochester Institute of Technology Invitational.
Swimmer Korry Miller, BS '98, of Hamburg, N.Y., dominated backstroke events during his three years of competition in the Mid-Continent Championship Meet. He captured five of the six final heats in the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes in the conference championships, earning the 200-yard back crown in 1994-95 when the Bulls captured the team crown. As a senior, Miller served as team captain, was selected Mid-Continent Conference swimmer of the year, UB male athlete of the year and team MVP. Additionally that season, he repeated as ECAC 200-yard backstroke champion, establishing a conference (and school) record that lasted until 2002 and led the Bulls to a fifth-place finish among 38 schools in the Eastern competition. Miller was also a key member of freestyle and medley relays. His times in the 100- and 200-yard backstrokes and IMs rank among the top seven performances in UB history, and four of his relays hold times that still rank among the program's top 10.
The Distinguished Alumni Award will be given to Peter Rao, EdM '63 & EdB '56 (posthumously). Rao started on offense (backfield), defense (cornerback and linebacker) and special teams for UB from 1953-55 and also lettered in wrestling, baseball and track. After earning his master's degree, Rao joined Lewiston-Porter High School in Youngstown, N.Y., where he coached the Lancers' wrestling and football teams to several Niagara Frontier League titles. His football teams dominated and had several undefeated seasons; in 1970, he was named coach of the year by the Western New York High School Football Coaches Association. Among his players was former Dallas All-Pro fullback Daryl Johnston. He returned to UB in 1980 as defensive coordinator. UB's single-game interception leader with four, Rao's first defense ironically set a new UB record for single-season picks. In 1981 Rao became UB's offensive coordinator, and when he left in 1990, UB's offense broke 68 team and individual records. His 1982 offense was fifth in the country (Division III) in passing and the 1986 team went 9-2, recording the most wins in UB gridiron history.
The Pioneering Award will be given posthumously to Nanette Harvey, EdM '87 & BS '78. The award, which honors the accomplishments of outstanding participants during the years in UB history that women were not given an outlet for their athletic ability, recognizes the advocacy of women's athletics by athletes, coaches and administrators. Former associate athletic director and senior woman administrator, Harvey began her lengthy affiliation with UB as a student-athlete (volleyball and basketball). She played volleyball for two seasons and basketball for three, serving as captain for the 1976-77 basketball squad. Harvey came back to UB in 1983 to coach the softball team and two years later the team finished 19-9, capturing the SUNYAC crown and a berth in the NCAA East Regionals.
The Russell J. Gugino Award, which recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions of time and resources to the university's athletic programs, will be given to Kevin Brinkworth, JD '66 & BA '63, of Amherst, N.Y. Brinkworth is a former UB football defensive lineman who voluntarily played out of position and earned a reputation of being a hard-nosed teammate who gave 100 percent on each play. He was mentored on the gridiron by line coach Ron LaRocque, who also encouraged Brinkworth to try out for the wrestling team. Brinkworth, a former high school All-American, had never wrestled before, but went on to an accomplished UB mat career under LaRocque. A staunch supporter of the athletics program since the mid-1970s, Brinkworth has sponsored the luncheon at the UB Golf Classic for more than 10 years. To honor LaRocque, Brinkworth has made a significant personal gift to fund the renovation of the football lounge and name it after his former coach, as well as recruited other teammates to donate as well.
Tickets for the UB Athletics Hall of Fame are available by contacting the UB Office of Alumni Relations at 716-645-3312. Tickets are $25 for members of either the UB Alumni Association or UB Blue & White Club, and $30 for non-members.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.
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