Burt native John Beilein and Niagara Falls' Ron Moscati are among the 12-member Class of 2021 to be announced by the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame today in Buffalo.
The local duo will join former Buffalo Bills vice president and general manager John Butler and star defensive tackle Kyle Williams, beloved former Buffalo Sabre and broadcaster Mike Robitaille and seven others in the class, which will be officially inducted during the annual GBSHOF dinner Oct. 14 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
Beilien has two national championship appearances and over 800 career wins as a college basketball coach over a career that went from Newfane High school to Eric Community College, Nazareth, Le Moyne, Canisius College, Richmond, West Virginia and Michigan. After an NBA stint that lasted less than a year as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 68-year-old is currently an advisor with the Detroit Pistons.
Moscati was considered one of the nation's top sports photographers during a career spent mostly with the Buffalo Courier Express and the Buffalo News.
Butler, who is being inducted posthumously, joined the Bills' personnel department in 1987 and was elevated to GM in 1993, a title he held until 2000. He was with the franchise during its four consecutive trips to the Super Bowl form 1991-94. The Bills made the playoffs 10 times in his 14 seasons and had a record of 140-83. Butler died at 56 years old in 2003.
Williams was a six-time Pro Bowler during his 13 seasons with the Bills and a fan favorite before retiring following the 2018 season.
Robitaille played one season with the AHL Buffalo Bisons (1969-70) and parts of four with the Sabres from 1971-75. He returned to the Sabres as a broadcaster in 1989 and remained in that role until 2014.
Also in the Class of '21 are:
• Angela Coniglio (posthumous), a four-sport Amherst star and former professional soccer player
• Deborah Dourlain, who set state records as a swimmer from Orchard Park and went on to earn Division I and III All-American honors
• Gerry Gentner (posthumous), a three-time state championship softball coach at Williamsville South
• Julie Gentner Murphy, a multi-sport All-Western New Yorker at Will. South who went on to become a Division III field hockey All-American and championship softball coach
• William Russell (posthumous), a youth hockey founder, director, coach and administrator in Buffalo
• Lamar Smith, and elite sprinter from Bennett who holds the two oldest boys track records in WNY and became an All-American at Alabama and Buffalo State
• Pete Tonsoline, a multi-sport local high school coach and administrator with more than 1,500 wins
• The1958 UB football team, which finished 8-1 and won Lambert Cup, then declined invitation to Tangerine Bowl when bowl committee denied two black members from competing
The class will be introduced at 4 p.m. today at Buffalo Riverworks. It is the 31st in GBSHOF history and brings the total membership number to 364.
For additional information on the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, visit www.gbshof.com.