Seventy years later on, Kolakowski values Siena basketball’s win streak
Kolakowski, who turns 92 on Thursday, played on teams that won a program-record 16 straight games bridging the 1949-50 and 1950-51 seasons.
” There was 30, I believe, of us old-timers and we had breakfast and after that viewed them practice,” Kolakowski, who lives with his other half of 68 years in Brant Lake. “It was great to see that. So we recognized with some of the ballplayers and the coach and truly couldn’t comprehend why they could not get off the ground.”
The Saints started 10-10 last season, in part because of a tough non-conference schedule. They have not lost considering that. They have actually won 16 in a row, connecting Kolakowski’s teams, and can stand alone by winning Friday’s game against Saint Peter’s at the Alumni Entertainment Center.
Siena broke the program Department I tape-record last weekend, sweeping Rider to exceed the 2009-10 team that won 15 directly.
” More credit to them there – having the ability to win and turn it around and begin winning,” Kolakowski said. “It implies they hung in there and played extremely good ball.”
Kolakowski intends on enjoying when Siena tries to take sole ownership of the program record in a game to be televised on ESPNU at 7.
” Any win by Siena is well valued,” Kolakowski stated. “Records are made to be broken, I think, and I enjoy for them.”
Initially, Kolakowski didn’t remember his teams won 16 straight, and certainly not that there was any excitement at the time.
” I don’t keep in mind that,” he said with a chuckle. “It was just 70 years back.”
He’s thought to be simply one of 2 living gamers from those groups, together with Myron Lotosky. Both were raised in Bayonne, N.J. Siena didn’t have present contact details for Lotosky.
When he participated in the practice last season, Kolakowski spoke briefly to the team.
” I stated a few words, told them my feelings, “he said.” I was telling them how … we were a group. And we all pulled together and off the court we were still together frequently. … That’s very essential, naturally. That’s why they have actually had the success. They would have been bombed in 2015 with the start they had, however they hung in there and it had a lot to do with the scheduling that provided that bad start.”
Kolakowski said Maciariello is worthy of much of the credit. Kolakowski bet Dan Cunha, the winningest coach in program history with 246 victories over 21 seasons.
Siena won its final seven video games of the 1949-50 season, including beating St. Francis (N.Y.) to win the National Catholic Invitational Competition. The Saints (then called the Indians) won their first 9 video games of 1950-51.
” We had a coach, Dan Cunha, who was extremely rigorous and the older fellas, they had the ability to get along much better than a few of the other fellas,” Kolakowski said. “It took them some time to get used to that dominant training.”
The best-known player from those teams was Billy Harrell, whose No. 10 jersey was the first retired by Siena basketball in 2006. He led Siena with 311 points when they won the Catholic tournament in 1949-50. He later on played Major League Baseball with Cleveland and the Boston Red Sox.
” He was an impressive person and an impressive player,” said the 6-foot-3 Kolakowski. “When we when were down 6 points or less, we were ahead. He ‘d make a take, get a rebound and frequently time, I ‘d score off his take so that included to my point overall.”
Kolakowski rattled off the names of numerous other key players from those teams, consisting of Edward Lange, George Bruda, Jake Labate, Ralph Fedulla, Bill Hogan and Jack Hogan.
Jack Hogan, a Troy local, died in Delaware in August at age 90. The majority of those players are gone, however Kolakowski still remembers them fondly.
Gary Kolakowski, among his 4 boys, helps run the household resort called Sundown Mountain Lodge in Brant Lake. Gary said his daddy grew up in a modest background in Bayonne, the son of Polish immigrants who spoke no English. Ed Kolakowski jumped at a scholarship offer from Siena, passing up an offer from Villanova.
” It’s just incredible how they remained close with all the gamers from the different groups in that age,” Gary Kolakowski said. “Fifty, 60 years after and he simply recalls at it as the best time ever.”