1959 Men’s Basketball Team to be honored at Hall of Fame Ceremonies

The Alfred State College athletic department will honor the 1959 Men’s Basketball team during the Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony to be held Friday in the Orvis Activities Center Auditorium.  The 1959 squad won the first Region III Championship in Alfred State history and fourth ever in school history.

Members of the 1959 team included Gary Ashley, George Crane, Lynn Long, Jon Baker, Ben Ridley, Ralph Angelo, Frank Oppedisano, Fred Cohen, Gordon Valentine, Larry Chilson, Jerry Eaton, and Jerry Rogers.  The Statesmen were coached by ASC athletic hall of famer, Dick Giedlin, who was just in his second year coaching (Giedlin coached at Alfred State for 13 years and is still the leader in career victories with 198).

The Statesmen were 15-5 in the 1958-59 regular season and landed in the Eastern Regional Junior College Basketball Tournament at Broome Tech in Binghamton.  Alfred Tech entered the tournament with a 2-4 mark vs. tournament opponents. 

With the rallying cry of “Onward to Kansas”, Alfred Tech defeated Canton Tech 69-68 in the first round in a nail biter and then defeated Broome County Tech 64-58 to advance to the tournament finals.  In the finals, Alfred punched their ticket to Hutchinson, Kansas and the NJCAA National Championship with a 69-59 victory over Paul Smith’s College.

After the long train trip to Kansas, Alfred Tech fell to Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN) and Independence Junior College (Independence, KS) to finish the season 18-7.

The Statesmen were led by Jerry Rogers who scored 288 points, shot 49% from the field, and grabbed over 268 rebounds.  George Crane shot 73% from the foul line to lead the team while Ben Ridley had a team high 27 points in a victory over Broome Tech.  Ridley was also named the MVP of the Eastern Junior College Tournament.

The 1959 regional championship was the only regional title Alfred State had won in basketball until the 1994 season when the Pioneers began a run of four straight regional championships.

The tradition of honoring a past Alfred State College athletic team began last year when the 1984 Cross Country team was honored.  Each year during the Hall of Fame ceremony a new team will be honored.