Ex NFL players Crist, Hughes elected to 2019 class
Jankiewicz, Scamurra among 13 inductees
Two Western New Yorkers who made it to the National Football League, the first Buffalo-born player to sign an NHL contract and a legendary coach and prime mover in high school athletics are among the 13 individuals in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2019 announced Wednesday.
The class includes five in the Legends category of deceased greats. Among them are Will and James “Deacon” White, who formed a pitcher-catcher battery for the Buffalo professional baseball teams late in the 19th century.
Chuck Crist of Salamanca, who made a name for himself in basketball at Penn State, yet went on to a long NFL career as a safety with the New York Giants, New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers, and the late Ed Hughes are the inductees with NFL backgrounds. Hughes played at Kensington High and Tulsa University before a long career as an NFL defensive back and assistant coach. He was head coach of the Houston Oilers for one year and offensive coordinator of the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears.
A third inductee with a pro football background was not a player or coach. He is Buffalo native Joe Horrigan, the executive director of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Len Jankiewicz retired from coaching after a long career in football at Lancaster High. However, he continued as director of athletics, building Lancaster as one of the most successful all-sports programs in the region.
Peter Scamurra, who started out in youth hockey in Amherst and went on to play Junior hockey in Canada, was the first local player drafted by the NHL. He was taken in the second round by the Washington Capitals in 1975. A defenseman, he played in 132 games for the Capitals from 1975-76 through 1979-80 and had eight goals and 33 career points.
Other inductees are:
• Dorothy Jones, an All-High basketball star at McKinley High (Class of 1984), who went on to play at the University of Louisville.
• Olympic skier Travis Mayer, a Springville native, who won a silver medal in moguls in the 2002 games.
• Jeff Prescott, a three-time state champion wrestler at Olean High, who won two NCAA championships at 118 pounds for Penn State and was a three-time All-American.
• Barbara Wachowiak, an AllAmerica field hockey player at Ithaca College after starring in four sports at Hamburg High. She now is recognized as leading game official in field hockey. Two other deceased inductees are: • Adam Beattie Gunn, who emigrated to Buffalo from Scotland in 1893 and earned fame as an track and field athlete. He was dubbed the World’s Greatest Athlete after he won the All-Around, now called the decathlon, in competition at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo.
• Golfer Peggy Wattles, who started out as a pre-teen phenom before going on to win numerous Buffalo District titles in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The class will be formally introduced to the public and media on June 4 in the KeyBank Center. The date for the induction dinner in the fall has not yet been finalized.
With the class of 2019, the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame will now have 343 members.