SC Honored By N.E. Basketball Hall Of Fame
, Sept. 24, 2004 – Springfield College, The Birthplace of Basketball, took its rightful place in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame tonight as the College was inducted at a ceremony at the University of Rhode Island.
Springfield College was the only organization honored for its contributions to the game tonight. Hundreds of individuals and numerous college, prep school and high school teams were also enshrined.
Former Springfield College director of athletics and head men’s basketball coach Ed Bilik
, and Denis Clark
, a record-setting player at SC, were also inducted in the New England Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its class of 2004, along with SC alums, Bob Fallon '60, Karen Kennedy '79
and Pam Vitti Moffo '73
, who were enshrined for their outstanding careers coaching at the high school and prep school levels. Christine Hanlon Wielgus '74
, head women's basketball coach at Dartmouth College, was inducted in the Divsion I women's basketball college category, and Pete Broaca
, longtime assistant men's coach at SC, was enshrined with the 1978-79 Coast Guard team which he coached.
Other notable selections include former UMass star and current Denver Nugget Marcus Camby
; Manute Bol
, who played college ball at Bridgeport and enjoyed a solid NBA career; and Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle
, who began his college career at Maine and played for the Boston Celtics. Ambassador Ray Flynn
, the former Boston mayor who played at Boston College; Mike Gorman
, the voice of the Boston Celtics, and Big East Conference Commissioner, Mike Tranghese
, will also be enshrined.
, which was originally known as the International YMCA Training School, helped the game take off after James Naismith, then a 31-year old physical education faculty member at the college, invented basketball in 1891. In fact, the growth of basketball internationally can be credited to Springfield College alumni, who struck out for YMCAs around the world with basketballs in hand. In 1892, basketball was played in Mexico, and in France a year later. Balls were bouncing in China and India by 1894, England in 1895 and Brazil in 1896. By 1920, 40 countries were playing the game. Today, basketball is played in more than 170 nations by millions of people.
, who currently resides in Savannah, Ga.
, succeeded Ed Steitz
as the college’s director of athletics in 1989 and served in that capacity for 10 years. He became the third Springfield College athletic director to be appointed NCAA secretary-rules editor and national interpreter of basketball in 1996, following John Bunn
and Steitz. Bilik continues in that integral position today as a voice to preserve the rules and integrity of college basketball.
Bilik coached the men’s basketball team at Springfield College for 20 seasons (1966 to 1986) compiling a 322-196 record (.622). His squads participated in seven NCAA Division II Tournaments and had 18 winning seasons. Bilik was voted the New England Coach of the Year in 1970 and 1980.
During his career, Bilik conducted numerous basketball clinics around the world and worked with a number of foreign coaches with Springfield College’s International Exchange Program. He also served as research chairman of the Basketball Rules Committee for 10 years.
A native of Endicott, N.Y., Bilik earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Springfield College in 1957 and a master’s degree in physical education in 1962. He earned his doctor of education degree at Oregon in 1966. While an undergraduate at Springfield, Bilik was a standout baseball and basketball performer. He played first base in the 1955 College Baseball World Series in Omaha, Neb., as a sophomore, and served as team captain his senior year. Bilik also was a New England All-Star in basketball as a guard.
Bilik, who was a professor of physical education in addition to his administrative and coaching responsibilities, was inducted into the Springfield College Hall of Fame in 1995. In 2002, he was honored with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Guardian Award for Advocacy. In presenting him with the honor, the NABC cited Bilik’s long-standing commitment to taking stands on issues critical to the game.
One of Bilik’s star players was Denis Clark
, a 1971 graduate of Springfield College and one of the most prolific scorers in school history.
, a guard from Winthrop, Maine
, was SC’s top scorer for three consecutive seasons from 1967-’68 to 1969-’70, leading Springfield to a 50-26 win-loss record and three NCAA Tournament appearances in that span. As a senior in the ’69-’70 campaign, he earned First-Team All-America College Division honors and was player of the year in District I after averaging 27.8 points, which is still a school record. That season, Clark led SC to the NCAA Tournament and to a 17-8 mark by scoring 30-or-more points on 10 occasions. In a mid-season 89-88 loss to Holy Cross, he poured in 50 points, another one of his school records that still stands. Clark also hit a school-best 19 consecutive free throws as a sophomore in 1967-’68.
Despite playing just three varsity seasons due to NCAA regulations that restricted freshmen from participating in varsity athletics, Clark is seventh on SC’s all-time scoring list with 1,588 points. In fact, Clark is also one of only two players in school history to score over 1,500 prior to 1974, when the NCAA began allowing freshmen to compete on varsity teams.
Clark was inducted in the Springfield College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1997.
is being honored as for her career as basketball coach at Phillips Andover Academy, where she is also assistant director of athletics.Vitti Moffo
is being inducted in the Connecticut girls' high school coach category after an outstanding tenure at Conard High School. Fallon
, who coached at Edward Little High School in Maine, is being honored for his acheivements.
For more information on the New England Basketball Hall of Fame, please visit www.internationalsport.com/basketball.