The great heavyweight fighter Jack Dempsey was training in Sararatoga Springs for his bout with Jack Sharkey in 1927, when there was a murder-suicide in Schenectady. It turned out that Dempsey’s brother John, who was estranged from his wife, paid her a visit at 847 Emmett Street on Hamilton Hill, shot her, then turned the gun on himself. Dempsey came to Schenectady, handled the funeral arrangements, then returned to Saratoga and resumed training. Later, he successfully defended his title by knocking out Sharkey.
The 1962-1963 basketball season, Schenectady’s Barry Kramer was a junior year All-American at NYU, and Art Heyman was a senior year All-American at Duke and College Player of the Year. The 6’4″ Kramer and 6’5″ Heyman went head-to-head in a memorable confrontation in the east regional semi-finals of the NCAA Tournament. Duke was leading by a hoop in the final 60 seconds, and Kramer drove to the hoop, only to have Heyman block his shot. The ball came back to Kramer, and he took another shot, which Heyman also blocked. Kramer again got the ball back, went up, and Heyman blocked his shot for a third time. Duke then got control of the ball and went on to win the game 81-76. Heyman finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Kramer 34 points and 4 rebounds. Kramer averaged a little over 33 points for the entire east regional tourney.
The Nott Terrace football team, under head coach Pete Shulha, went undefeated in 1953. The Blue Devils outscored their opponents by an amazing 277-6. Bob Czub, a tough as nails linebacker, who hit like a ton of bricks, was the team leader. He was an All-County pick, winner of the Thom McCan Award for best player in the county and was named to the High School All-American Team. Czub went on to Cornell, where he was a 2-sport standout. He was an All-Ivy League second team choice as a guard. Czub also was an A.A. U. boxing champion.
Suprunowicz is a very well-known name in basketball circles around the Capital Region. Brothers Mack, Dick and Walt starred for Sig Makofski at Mont Pleasant, brothers Billy and Mike (sons of Dick Suprunowicz) played for Walt Przybylo at Linton and Mark (the son of Walt Suprunowicz) played for Niskayuna. They were all fundamentally sound and had high basketball IQs. Mack, the oldest, is often considered to be the best of the clan. As well as being one of the Red Raiders’ all-time top rebounders and scorers, Mack Suprunowicz attended the University of Michigan and was a Big-Ten selection all four years.
Johnny Maurycy won the Gazette County Amateur Golf Title when he was 16 years-old. This was just the beginning of what turned out to be a very impressive golf career. Maurycy qualified for the U.S. Open three times (1963-1965), and later was on the PGA Tour, finishing in the money a number of times. Other highlights of the strapping 6’3″ golfer’s career were setting course records at Mount Anthony Country Club (63), Schuyler Meadows Country Club (63) and the Mohawk Club (64). Maurycy has served as the head pro at Walhalla Country Club on Riverview Road in Rexford and the Mohawk Club in Niskayuna.
Petey Virgin was a feisty featherweight fighter from Schenectady, New York in the 1940s. Virgin took his boxing career from McNearney Stadium in Schenectady, to Hawkins Stadium in Albany, to Madison Square Garden, and then to Hollywood, California. Virgin was the tenth-ranked featherweight in the world in 1947. After a lengthy career (nearly 200 fights), the spry Virgin was about to take on Willie Pep for the welterweight title, when he suffered an eye injury and was forced to retire from boxing. Pep had turned down an offer to fight Virgin earlier in his career because of Virgin’s reputation as a dirty boxer. Virgin had four different managers during his career. “They all stole me blind,” said Virgin. “I was pretty experienced by that time, and I was pretty much my own boss. But you had to have a manager to get you fights. Al Weill was the biggest crook of them all. I had to pay him 50 percent of my purse, but at least he got me fights.” After retiring from the ring, Virgin became a bartender at various locations across the country. He also worked in construction. Later, Virgin was inducted into the Schenectady Ring 26 Boxing Hall of Fame. He passed away in 2004.
Answer – Jimmy Barbieri
Tony Parisi was a 1950 graduate of Mont Pleasant High School, and, perhaps, the best two-sport athlete ever to play for the Red Raiders. Parisi was multi-talented and earned 9 letters in both football and baseball at Mont Pleasant and Holy Cross. He was named to the All-New England Football Team at Holy Cross in 1953 and made several All-Opponent teams, including Syracuse, Boston College and Fordham. A catcher on the Crusaders’ baseball squad, Holy Cross won the NCAA Championship in 1952. The team finished with a 21-9 record and won the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. Parisi played semi-pro baseball, and also had a tryout with the New York Giants at the old Polo Grounds.
The Zoo is a team of Schenectady, New York bowlers, and they won the Vitallo Classic League title at Sportsman’s Bowl on Crane Street. Team members are Jay Diamond, John Mango and Mark Ray.
New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin played halfback for Syracuse in the 1960s, and former Linton High All-American Ron Oyer was his teammate. Pro football greats Larry Csonka and Floyd Little were also Coughlin and Oyer’s teammates. Orangemen basketball coach Jim Boeheim was Coughlin’s residence advisor his senior year. Oyer was honored as a Syracuse Letter Winner of Distinction in 2011. Csonka, by the way, originally played linebacker for Syracuse and was switched to a running back position late in his Orangemen career. He became a punishing running back for the Miami Dolphins.
Answer – Phil Johnson
Niskayuna native and Union College goalie Colin Stevens had another solid night on February 28 with 21 saves and his 50th win as the Dutchmen goaltender. After falling behind 2-0, Union battled back to beat Clarkson 3-2.
6’5″ Schalmont junior basketball star Zac O’Dell bucketed 22 points, rejected 6 shots and had 5 steals in a 59-50 sectional win over Cohoes. O’Dell’s mom Val Higgins O’Dell was an Academic All-American at Siena College in 1991. A Schalmont graduate herself, Val Higgins was named MAAC Player of the Year her senior season. When she graduated, Higgins ranked ninth on Siena’s list of all-time career scorers with 1,137 points. She tallied 37 points in one game. Higgins also ranked eighth on the all-time career rebounding list with 682.
Answer – Lou Rossini