Brooklyn Boro

Scholastic Roundup: Cages — the final word

May 17, 2024 Andy Furman
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The last word on cages – courtesy of Dan Lynch, Jr. – former baseball coach at Brooklyn’s St. Francis College.

“In addition to public schools erecting protective wire cages around basketball courts, as reported last week by Glenn Thomas (FDR basketball coach),” Lynch writes, “I think that probably schools and clubs in the early 1900s had similar ‘cages’ since they didn’t even have backboards back then – but wire cages surrounding basketball courts were still evident in 1974.”

Lynch says he knows because he was coaching the Caracas entry in the inaugural Venezuelan Professional League, and the courts in all our opponents’ facilities were surrounded by 15-foot steel cages with barbed wire on top.

“They were not there to keep the balls from, bouncing away,” Lynch said, “But were there to keep the maniacal fans from storming the court. We had to enter and leave the court from a trap door at half court. Luckily, we won the final championship game at our arena – a very modern facility (no wire cage around the court).

“If we had won the game on an away court,” he adds, “I’m sure the opposing fans would have ripped down the cage.”

Lynch said each team was allowed to suit-up three American players per-game. “Our team was led by three former St. Francis College hoop stars – Ronnie Jones, Jack McCue, and Kenny Lam. Two other New York City players — Ray Hyland and Jimmy Romeo were on the roster at one time or another,” Lynch said.

The team they beat for the championship was coached by Nat Frazier, who was Division II National Coach of the Year, and later an assistant with the New York Knicks.

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Lynch said years later his team was inducted into the Venezuelan Sports Institute Hall of Fame. “We were invited to attend,” he said, “But to quote Kenny Lam, ‘Are you serious? We’d be kidnapped before the cocktail hour was over, and I don’t know about you guys but my wife, Marge, has a strict No Ransom, policy.’”

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Mick Quinn, St. Francis College, Class of 1969 says he is still bummed about the cancellation of Terrier athletics. “I knew Coach Danny Lynch, Sr.,” Quinn says. “He told me about an upcoming New York City Board of Education exam for the license of Teacher of Physical Education in Vacation Playground.

“I took the test, passed it, and worked in that job for three summers,” Quinn said. “The recreation superintendent for the eastern Queens Board of Education district I worked in from 1967-1969 was Norm Drucker, longtime NBA/ABA referee. I met him in June of 1967 at his office at a school in southeastern Queens, and he assigned me to work that summer at Andrew Jackson High School – Bob Cousy’s alma mater, in Springfield Gardens. I took my kids to play in the same gym that Cousy honed his hoop skills.”

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Speaking of St. Francis College – Terrier Athletics Day is set for Saturday, June 22nd (noon to 4 pm) – at Brooklyn Law School Feil Hall, 205 State Street.

The cost is $100 per-person – recent student-athletes, 2022 and after — $50; no charge for children under the age of 10. The event is chaired by Fr. Brian Jordan PFM and sponsored by Michael Randazzo, CEO of Integrated Community Wellness.

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Billy Lopez, former basketball coach at Kingsborough Community College was battling dementia a few years, and passed earlier this month.

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Prayers for New Utrecht High’s and Florida State Hall of Fame broadcaster, Spencer Ross. “It’s been a tough four months,” he tells Scholastic Roundup. “It started January 12th; I had Covid for 29 days. Five days later I catch the flu, with fever and hospitalized.”

Ross said a scan showed a growth on his bladder; and it turned out to be cancer. “I underwent surgery, March 15th; and remained hospitalized. The good news, 10 days later – it was malignant; but they removed it all.

“They moved me to a rehab center; the physical therapy has been fantastic; but still can’t go home. My wife Pat is here every day. She’s the greatest. I’m mentally still sharp and doing a good job of fighting depression. I should be home in two to three weeks. That’s my goal.”

With the exception of the New York Mets, Ross has called play-by- play for every professional New York metropolitan area sports franchise, including the Yankees of MLB, the Nets and Knicks of the NBA, and Jets and Giants of the NFL. He has also called games for the Americans of the ABA and, in the NHL, for the New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and New York Rangers.

Outside of New York, he has called games for the Florida State Seminoles and Boston Celtics. Nationally, he has worked for the NFL on NBC, Major League Baseball on CBS Radio, the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament on Westwood One, and as the lead play-by-play announcer for the 1992 USA Olympic Dream Team with Dick Vitale. In 2009 he was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

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LIU honored 16 student-athletes prior to their baseball game with Wagner last week, and improved their record to 19-2 at home with an 8-3 victory. Jake Castillo set an LIU single-season RBI record after driving in Seth Surrett in the third inning, recording his 59th RBI. Mastillo’s milestone surpassed Joe Zeccardi, who drove in 58 runs during the 1999 season. Castillo now has 107 RBIs in his two seasons at LIU.

Prior to the game, LIU honored Bentley Boekhout, Carlton Harper, Jake Castillo, Kyle Matthews, PJ Moritz, JC Navarro, Riley Palmer, Evan Panjwani, Dominic Pieta, Connor Price, Kevin Small, Seth Surrett, Shane Tucker, Tatsuya Umemoto, Jarod Wade and Garrett Yawn on Senior Day.

LIU’s softball team, fell to Central Connecticut State University in a Northeast Conference elimination game,12-9, Friday. The Sharks hit five home runs in the loss — Mari Narvaiz hit a pair and finished with four RBI on the day; Gabby Padilla drove in three runs and hit two homers ands Kaylee Clarkson hit a solo shot.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was a scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected] ; Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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