New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Athletics

Asa Bushnell


Asa Bushnell (College athletics.  Born, Springfield, OH, Feb. 1, 1900; died, Princeton, NJ, Mar. 22, 1975.)  Resigning as graduate manager of athletics at Princeton in late 1937, Asa Smith Bushnell became the first director of the Central Office for Eastern Collegiate Athletics, which came into existence Jan. 1, 1938.  What then was essentially a clearinghouse for officiating assignments became, in 1947, the Eastern College Athletic Conference and grew to include more than 150 member colleges, administering over a dozen sports.  Bushnell served as the first E.C.A.C. commissioner for over 20 years (1947-70).  He was also secretary of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Eddie Butler


Eddie Butler (Athletics.  Bron, Brooklyn, NY, Mar. 17, 1892; died, Brooklyn, NY, Nov. 26, 1956.)  An all-around athlete at Cornell (where he captained the 1912 football team), Edmund William Butler became the leader of the Crescent A.C. in Brooklyn.  Butler joined the Brooklyn amateur group in 1912 and became the New York State handball champion in 1923, representing Crescent.  He became the coach of of the club’s basketball and baseball programs the same year.  Butler was the national handball champion in 1925.  He was also active in the club’s hockey program, having played that sport in college, along with football, baseball, and basketball.  For decades, the Crescent club was Brooklyn’s leading amateur sports organization, thanks largely to Butler’s efforts.

Nicholas Murray Butler


Nicholas Murray Butler (College athletics.  Born, Elizabeth, NJ, Apr. 2, 1862; died, New York, NY, Dec. 7, 1947.)  Known largely for his lengthy tenure as president of Columbia University, Nicholas Murray Butler also had an active interest in athletics, especially football.  Butler ordered the football program dropped after the 1905 season following a wave of deaths and serious injuries in the sport.  He allowed its restoration on a limited basis in 1915.  Butler was inaugurated as the university’s president Apr. 19, 1902, and retired in October 1945.  He was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 1912 and shared the 1931 Nobel Peace Prize (with Jane Addams).

Ken Fairman


Ken Fairman (College athletics.  Born, Spring Valley, NY, Feb. 23, 1912; died, Princeton, NJ, Mar. 8, 1994.)  Princeton’s first official athletic director, R. Kenneth Fairman succeeded Asa Bushnell as graduate manager in 1938.  Fairman had been a football, basketball, and lacrosse player at Princeton.  He was also basketball coach from 1935-38 (25-38).  Fairman became the official athletic director in 1941, when the university took formal control of its athletic program.  He then served as an officer in the U.S. Army armored corps during World War II and was also mayor of Princeton (1959-63).  Fairman retired as athletic director in 1972.

Jack Kaiser


Jack Kaiser (College athletics.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, Oct. 6, 1926.)  A highly-successful baseball coach, John Warren Kaiser served 22 years (1973-95) as St. John’s director of athletics.  Kaiser was also one of three founders of the Big East Conference in 1979 (Dave Gavitt of Providence and Seton Hall’s Richie Regan were the others).  He played four seasons (1950-53) in the Boston Red Sox farm system and also managed in the minors.  Kaiser hit .303 in 131 games at Roanoke, Va., in the Piedmont League in 1951.  A leg injury ended his playing career.  After three years as an assistant, he became St. John’s varsity baseball coach in 1956.  In 18 seasons, he compiled a sterling 366-130 record and sent several players to pro ball.  Kaiser spent 15 seasons (1952-67) in the Redmen basketball program as an assistant, freshman, and junior varsity coach.  He had coached basketball at Brooklyn Prep in 1949-50.  Having been the basketball ticket manager, he rose to assistant athletic director and succeeded Walter T. McLaughlin in 1973.  Kaiser has served on numerous N.C.A.A. committees and as president of the American Baseball Coaches Association (1969-70).  He was also president of the M.I.B.A., the group that presented the N.I.T. basketball tournament.

Walter T. McLaughlin


Walter T. McLaughlin (College athletics. Born, Brooklyn, NY, Jan. 21, 1906; died, Largo, FL, Nov. 28, 1989.) When Ray Lynch, the former football coach, left as athletic director at St. John’s in 1933, he was succeeded by Walter T. McLaughlin. Recognizing that the emphasis of the school’s athletics program was now on basketball, McLaughlin worked to build on the tradition the Brooklyn school had already begun to develop. He made St. John’s a regular on the new Madison Square Garden college doubleheader programs, starting with the first of the regular series Dec. 29, 1934. McLaughlin inherited Buck Freeman, the famous coach of the Redmen’s “Wonder Five,” but hired, among others, Joe Lapchick (1936), Frank McGuire (1947), and Lou Carnesecca (1965) to coach basketball at the school. When St. John’s moved to its new Jamaica campus in 1959, he coordinated the planning and development for the new athletic complex, Alumni Hall, where the first varsity game was played Dec. 6, 1961. The 1960-61 season had been one of McLaughlin’s most difficult. The new building was a year late in opening and he had failed to find sites and change dates for the impressive schedule of games planned for the facility. St. John’s wound up playing in tripleheaders at the Garden, as well as games at high school gyms in the city. Yet McLaughlin managed to make it all work, He retired in 1973 after nearly 40 years of guiding a program that had experienced impressive growth.

F. Donald Miller


F. Donald Miller (Athletics. Born, Racine, WI, Apr. 9, 1920; died, Colorado Springs, CO, Jan. 17, 1996.) Assistant executive director (1969-73) and executive director (1973-85) of the U.S. Olympic Committee, F. Donald Miller then became president of the U.S. Olympic Committee Foundation (1985-96).

Al Paul


Al Paul (College athletics.  Born, Baltimore, MD, Sept. 17, 1926.)  A coach and administrator, Alvin R. Paul was involved in New York sports for more than 40 years.  A graduate of Western Maryland, where he played football and lacrosse, Paul came to Hofstra as lacrosse coach and an assistant on Howdy Myers’ football staff in 1950.  Paul left Hofstra to join Buff Donelli’s staff as an assistant football coach at Columbia in 1960.  He was an assistant coach until 1967, when he was named assistant director of athletics, and the next year was named associate director under Ken Germann.  Paul then served as director of athletics, the fourth in Columbia history, for 17 years (1974-91) after Germann became commissioner of the Southern Conference.  Under Paul, Columbia built a new soccer stadium and replaced its 54-year-old wooden football stadium with a new building that was opened in 1984.  There were also several improvements to the gymnasium and the creation of the unique athletic consortium for woman athletes at Barnard College.

John Reeves


John Reeves (College athletics.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 14, 1939.)  A successful soccer coach turned administrator, Dr. John A. Reeves became Columbia’s fifth full-time director of athletics in 1991, succeeding Al Paul (q.v.).  Reeves was the soccer coach at both Bloomfield College (1961-68) and Drew U. (1969-81) in New Jersey, compiling a 172-84-28 record.  He has also published five books on the sport.  Reeves was also director of athletics at Drew (1969-81) before holding the same position at the U. of Rochester (1981-87) and Stony Brook (1987-91).  At Columbia, he oversaw a significant expansion of facilities at the Dodge Physical Fitness Center and expanded the women’s athletic program, adding field hockey and lacrosse.  He retired June 30, 2004.  Reeves earned his undergraduate degree at Montclair State, his M.S. at Penn State, and his Ed.D. at Columbia (1983).

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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