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

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Richie Adubato

Richie Adubato (Pro basketball.  Born, East Orange, NJ, Nov. 23, 1937.)  A former head coach for three N.B.A. teams, Richard Adam Adubato was to lead the Liberty to the W.N.B.A. final three times in four years.  On Dec. 9, 1998, Adubato was hired by the Liberty, succeeding Nancy Darsch, who coached the team during its first two seasons.  In his first year, the Liberty won the Eastern Conference and made the W.N.B.A. final, losing to Houston, two games to one.  In 2000 and 2002, Adubato again coached the Liberty into the final, only to lose to Houston and then Los Angeles.  After a 7-9 start in 2004, he was fired and replaced by assistant Pat Coyle.  Adubato was 100-78 (.562) in the regular season and 14-13 in the playoffs during his Liberty tenure.  Previously, he had been an N.B.A. head coach at Detroit (1979-80), Dallas (1989-92), and Orlando (1996-97).  Adubato was an N.B.A. assistant for five teams, including the Knicks (1982-86).  He brought a record of nearly 40 years of coaching to the job, including a six-year stint at the now-defunct Upsala College in East Orange, N.J. (1972-78, 100-62) and 19 years in the N.B.A.  Adubato was a star athlete from 1956-59 at William Paterson College (Wayne, N.J.), where he captained the basketball team and the baseball team as the first baseman on the Pioneers’ 1959 N.A.I.A. national champions.  He was also a highly-successful basketball coach at Our Lady of the Valley H.S. in New Jersey.  He coached for 18 seasons in New Jersey high schools, where he was 290-85.  He later coached Washington in the W.N.B.A.

Ben Agajanian

Ben Agajanian (Pro football.  Born, Santa Ana, CA, Aug. 28, 1919.)  Despite an accident that cost him four toes on his kicking foot in 1940, Benjamin James Agajanian had a remarkable career in which he set several club records (since broken) for the Football Giants.  He came out of the University of New Mexico in 1942 and began a 23-year pro career with the minor-league Hollywood Bears.  Agajanian was with the Giants in 1949 and again from 1954-57.  He scored 295 points and missed only two of 159 extra points (including a then-club record 81 straight, 1955-57).  His 50-yard field goal against Washington on Oct. 13, 1957, set a club record.  Agajanian is one of only two men to play in the A.A.F.C., the N.F.L., and the A.F.L. (linebacker Hardy Brown is the other).

Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi (Tennis.  Born, Las Vegas, NV, Apr. 29, 1970.)  First appearing on the A.T.P. tour as a 16-year-old prodigy, the flamboyant Andre Agassi became a major international star in 1990 when he was a U.S. Open finalist (losing to long-time rival Pete Sampras).  Agassi became the first unseeded player to win the Open since 1966 (1994), and enjoyed a tremendous year in 1995, winning seven tour events.  His 26-match winning streak was ended by Sampras in the 1995 Open final.  Agassi married movie star Brooke Shields (herself the granddaughter of a well-known tennis player, Francis X. Shields) and seemed to hit a mild decline in his game until 1999, when his marriage dissolved.  That year, he won his first French Open and again roared into the U.S. Open final, outlasting Todd Martin in five sets to win at Flushing Meadows for the second time.  He is one of only five men to win all four major events (winning Wimbledon in 1992, the French Open in 1999, and the Australian Open in 1995, 2000, and 2003).  Agassi married women’s tennis champion and winner of the Grand Slam in 1988, Steffi Graf.  Over the course of his career, he transformed his image from a flighty character who dissipated his talent to a tenacious, mentally tough competitor who thoroughly honored his ability.

Dom Alagia

Dom Alagia (Public address.  Born, Union City, NJ, Apr. 20, 1928.)  Among the most versatile and hard-working public address announcers in the New York area for more than 40 years, Dominic Alagia has called the plays and announced lineups for baseball, basketball, football and numerous other sports. He has also worked on almost all levels from high school to professional teams.  Alagia got his start with college basketball in 1960 when he took over the microphone for the Peacocks of St. Peter’s College in the Jersey City (N.J.) Armory.  During his 18 years there, the Peacocks had some of their finest teams, going to the N.I.T. five straight years.  From there, he branched out into other sports including minor league baseball (Jersey City), N.F.L. football (Green Bay and the Football Giants at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City), and eventually to the Meadowlands Arena where, from 1982-83 through 1990-91, he was the voice of college basketball.  In that capacity, he worked N.C.A.A. Regional action and many nationally-televised matchups.  Alagia became the public address voice of football at West Point’s Michie Stadium in 1972.  His first game was a 77-7 rout of the Cadets by Nebraska, but that team rebounded for a 6-4 mark, including an upset of Texas A&M and a season-ending win over Navy.  Alagia worked football at Montclair State and William Paterson colleges in New Jersey as well as basketball at both schools, college baseball regionals and many New York and New Jersey scholastic championship events.  In 2001, he became the voice of the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones.

Kenny Albert

Kenny Albert (Sportscaster.  Born, New York, NY, February 2, 1968.)  Becoming the Rangers’ regular radio play-by-play announcer in 1995, Kenny Albert succeeded his fabled father in that role.  However, he had already accumulated a considerable professional resume.  In 1994, at age 26, he worked telecasts of major league baseball, the N.F.L., the N.B.A., and N.H.L.  Albert began as an intermission host on Islanders radio in 1988 and subsequently moved to Baltimore, Md., and Washington, D.C., before becoming an N.F.L. play-by-play telecaster for FOX Sports in 1994.

Marv Albert

Marv Albert (Sportscaster.  Born, Brooklyn, NY, June 12, 1943.)  Easily the most familiar voice to generations of New York sports fans, Marv Albert became a part of the New York sports scene as the radio announcer for both the Knickerbockers and the Rangers in the 1960s and 1970s.  Albert became the radio play-by-play man for the Rangers in 1965 and took over the Knicks radio duties in the 1967-68 season, just in time for the club’s championship run.  Particularly in basketball, Albert’s unique “ye-s-s-s” call on a big Knicks basket developed into a catch phrase among sports fans.  Albert handled the Knicks on radio for 19 seasons before moving to the MSG Network’s cablecasts of the Knicks in 1986-87.  In 2005 he moved to the Nets as the prime television voice.  During Albert’s years as the team’s radio voice, the Knicks captured their first N.B.A. championships (1970 and 1973).  Highlighting his years of play-by-play with the Rangers were two Stanley Cup final teams (1972 and 1979) and the 1994 champions.  Albert also served as sports director of WNBC-TV (Channel 4) and later covered the N.B.A. for NBC Sports and the TNT network, and anchored MSG Network’s nightly desk report.  Marv enrolled at Syracuse University in 1959.  He subsequently transferred to N.Y.U. and was graduated in 1963.  A creative broadcaster, Albert’s creation of the “Albert Achievement Awards” served as inspiration for many zany segments on “Late Night with David Letterman.”  His warm personality and professionalism have made him one of the country’s most popular announcers.  His son, Kenny, developed into one of the most versatile broadcasters in sports, handling football and horseracing for FOX Sports, as well as being the radio voice of the Rangers.

Carlos Alberto

Carlos Alberto (Soccer.  Born, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 17, 1944.)  Carlos Alberto (Torres) was rated one of the great defenders in soccer during his long career and was selected 73 times for the Brazilian national team.  Alberto joined the Cosmos during the 1977 North American Soccer League season and immediately made a big contribution in the club’s winning the N.A.S.L. championship in Soccer Bowl ‘77.  He played on four N.A.S.L. championship teams in his five-year career with the Cosmos and another season (1981), during which he played with the California Surf, the Cosmos did not win the championship.  From the very first, Alberto made a positive impact on the Cosmos as the team won three of the first four games in which he played in 1977 and then swept through the playoffs in six games to win the title.  Alberto also has the distinction of having played more games with Pele than any other player.  The two were teammates with the fabled Santos team of Brazil before both joined the Cosmos.  From 1977-82, Alberto played in 100 regular-season games with the Cosmos and an additional 26 in the playoffs. He registered just 34 points (including six goals) during those 100 games and added five assists in the playoffs, but Alberto’s contribution was never measured in statistics, but, rather, in his uncanny ability to frustrate the offensive attacking plan of the opposing team.  His game was defense.

Hugh Alessandroni

Hugh Alessandroni (Fencing.  Born, New York, NY, Jan. 15, 1908; died, Little Silver, NJ, Mar. 30, 1989.)  A bronze medalist at the 1932 Olympiad, Hugh Vincent Alessandroni was the top American foil fencer of the 1930s.  Also a member of the U.S. team at Berlin in 1936, Alessandroni fenced at Columbia but really came into his own with the Fencers Club of New York.  Following his graduation in 1929, he won nine national foil championships, including individual titles in 1934 and 1936.  Alessandroni was a member of the national foil team champions five times (1931-33, 1935-36) and also was the foil member of the three-weapon team champions in 1932 and 1935.

Joe Alexander

Joe Alexander (Pro football.  Born, Silver Creek, NY, Apr. 1, 1898; died, New York, NY, Sept. 12, 1975.)  A center from Syracuse U., Joseph Alexander was the first player ever to sign a contract with the Football Giants.  After playing with Rochester (1921) and Milwaukee (1922) while earning a medical degree, Dr. Alexander opened a practice in New York.  Still a well-known player, he started at center for the first Giants team in 1925 that finished 8-4, was playing coach of the 1926 team, and then centered the 1927 N.F.L. champions before retiring again to pursue his medical career exclusively.  He later opened one of New York’s first tuberculosis clinics.

Edgardo Alfonzo

Edgardo Alfonzo (Baseball.  Born, St. Teresa, Venezuela, Nov. 8, 1973.)  Coming to the Mets at age 21, Edgardo Antonio Alfonzo struck many observers with his level of baseball sophistication, even though he was the team’s youngest player.  As a rookie, he played third base, second base, and shortstop while hitting .278 in 101 games in 1995.  His turn at third made him the 100th third baseman in Mets history (although first alphabetically).  For the next two seasons, he was the Mets’ regular at third and, in 1997, raised his batting average to .315 in 151 games (also making brief appearance at short and second base).  After hitting only 18 homers in his first three seasons, Alfonzo had 17 in 1998, a harbinger of things to come.  In 1999, he was moved to second base when the Mets signed Robin Ventura, a career third baseman, as a free agent.  The move was magical, transforming the Mets’ infield into probably the best in the majors, with flashy Rey Ordonez at short and John Olerud at first.  Alfonzo also had the best season of his career as a hitter with 27 homers, 108 r.b.i., and a .302 average.  He hit a key homer in the wild-card playoff game at Cincinnati and followed with two the next night (including a grand slam) in the first game of the Division Series at Arizona.  Troubled by back problems, Alfonzo left the Mets as a free agent after the 2002 season despite hitting a club-high .308 in 135 games that year.

About This Dictionary

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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About Bill Shannon

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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