Kirsch heads class for CD Basketball Hall of Fame

Former Siena head men’s basketball coach and athletic director Bill Kirsch and the late Al DeSantis,

Former Siena head men’s basketball coach and athletic director Bill Kirsch and the late Al DeSantis, longtime sports editor of the Union Star, are among the newest members of the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame.

The sixth annual awards ceremony and dinner will be Sunday at the Troy Garden Hilton Inn. There will be a reception at 4 p.m., followed by the dinner at 5. There are still a limited number of tickets available at $75 per ticket. Call CD Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Rene LeRoux (877-5170) for tickets.

“It’s another strong group,” said LeRoux. “I think some of the most interesting guys coming in are DeSantis and Kirsch. We also have a few who were actually set for induction last year, but couldn’t make the dinner, so we’re putting them in this year.”

Kirsch served the Saints in three different capacities. Not only did he play from 1951 through 1954, but he also compiled a 142-111 coaching record from 1972 through 1982 before becoming athletic director.

His most famous moment as a player was his three-quarter-court shot to help the Saints beat Iona, 56-54, with just a few seconds remaining at the old Madison Square Garden in the 1953-54 season. Kirsch, a 5-foot-8 guard, was known as a set-shot specialist at a time when jump-shooting was just beginning to become a weapon.

DeSantis’ son, Warren, will accept the Hall of Fame honors for his late father. Al DeSantis, who was also sports editor of the Middletown Record before he died, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a story he did on the late Jackie Robinson’s breaking of the color barrier in major league baseball. He also owned the Wedekinds and Schaefer Brewers semi-pro teams.

“I think everyone in Schenectady remembers DeSantis and all the things he did over there,” LeRoux said.

Other headliners include former Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons coach and NYU standout Don Blaha and Jim Seamons (Linton, Syracuse).

Blaha was one of the most versatile athletes in Schenectady history as a basketball player, baseball player, track and field star and golfer. He starred at Mont Pleasant and then played alongside Barry Kramer at NYU. He later coached the ND-BG basketball team that won 21 straight Diocesan League games from 1962 through 1965 and also captured three Diocesan League titles.

Seaman was a penetrating guard and played alongside Kramer on the 1960 Linton team. He also played two seasons at Syracuse.

Among the other inductees are Joe Hogan, former Watervliet coach and head coach of the Siena College women’s basketball team; referee/coach Bill Stanley from Amsterdam, former Amsterdam and UAlbany guard Todd Cetnar, former Saratoga Springs/Springfield College standout Buddy Clarke, Eric Taylor (Shaker/Cornell), Brian Larrabee (Colonie, Southern New Hampshire), Mike Van Schaick (Glens Falls, Fairfield), Bobby Sherlock (Catholic Central, Cincinnati) and top scout Tom Konchalski.

Categories: Sports

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