Suny Buffalo Hall of Fame
Randy Smith Class of 1971
Induction Class of 1985
Track & Field
-Randy was All SUNYAC all three years of Buffalo State basketball.
-He was also All East for two years in addition.
-Smith made the All Tournament team in NCAA finals in 1970.
-He set over 15 college scoring and rebounding records during his career.
-Randy Smith was the teamís leading scorer all three years.
A Personal Tribute to The
Late, Great, Randy Smith
by John Howell
As a kid growing up in Buffalo, my first exposure to Randy Smith was at a Buffalo State soccer match in the Fall of 1970. My high school team went on a field trip on a sunswept, Saturday afternoon to watch the Bengals play. I don't recall who their opponents were. It really doesn't matter.
Randy Smith has been named by
many as the greatest single athlete ever to play at Buff State (as the locals
call the small college in the SUNY System). He was an All-American in soccer
(division I), track (high jump), and basketball (his tertiary sport).
Soccer was an even more marginal sport than it is today in the United States, but Smith filled the stands in Bengal Stadium because he was so talented and so much fun to watch. He was, "Up and down the field like a streak," one former classmate recounted.
I know for me, seeing only my second soccer game that I hadn't played in, it was a memorable experience to see Randy play.
Had the MLS existed in 1971,
Smith would have likely never played in the NBA.
Had the NBA not expanded to Buffalo in 1970 he most likely would never have gotten a look.
I remember being thrilled that my beloved Buffalo Braves had given him a shot.
I was seventeen years old. I
worshiped the Braves. I listened to every Braves game that wasn't televised on
WBEN radio. I remember sitting on the floor in the dining room next to the
large, wooden cabinet/console stereo my family owned, listening to Van Miller
call the play-by-play. I could literally name the starters and key substitutes
for every NBA team. Hearing their names repeated ad infinitum for 48 minutes,
multiple times each year, made such trivial pursuit automatic.
Somehow I had a feeling. When
I heard Smith had been drafted, albeit as a gesture of community goodwill, I
just knew he would exceed expectations. Everyone's but his own. I have no doubt
Smith himself wasn't surprised at his success.
A year later, his second year
as a Brave, this 6-3" high jumper was playing small forward as a starter for the
Braves, under Hall of Fame Coach Dr. Jack Ramsay.
I was a freshman in college in
Oklahoma. My best friend from high school, Chris Proctor, was at Geneseo State,
a comfortable commute from Buffalo. He got a job I would have killed for, had I
still lived there.
He was a stats runner for the
Braves. When I was home for Christmas break, he got me a press pass. I sat in
the Jack Nicholson seats. It was great to be that close to legends like Bob
McAdoo and Ernie D, but Smith was always my favorite.
He was a god, and I was in his
presence. My soles on the same hardwood as his, in Buffalo's old Memorial "Aud."
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