GSSHOF Class of 2023 Features Nine Inductees
Syracuse, N.Y. – Nine individuals will be enshrined in the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame (GSSHOF) Class of 2023. The honorees, including Jamie Archer (lacrosse), Tom Blackford (coach), Bob Casullo (coach), Scott Cassidy (baseball), Irene Contos (softball), Carolyn Davis (lacrosse), Ronnie Legette Sr. (basketball), Andy Melnyk (bowling), Sid Ogelsby (gymnastics), were introduced at a press conference at the Sports Hall of Fame Showcase at Drivers Village in Cicero, NY. The 36th Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony will be held on Monday, October 30, 2023 at the The Oncenter Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center.
The addition of the Class of 2023 brings the GSSHOF honoree total to 271 men and women since the first induction ceremony in 1987. This year’s Inductees are:
Jamie Archer (lacrosse) – A high school All-American at Nottingham and a third-team All-American attack in 1993 at Syracuse University, Archer played in four Final Fours for the Orange, winning two National Championships under legendary Hall of Famer Roy ‘Slugger’ Simmons Jr. Following college, Jamie played pro indoor lacrosse with the Syracuse Smash and Reebok Lacrosse Club before transitioning to the sidelines as a coach. He started as the Nottingham HS junior varsity coach and later became the Bulldogs head coach. In 2000, he moved Jamesville-DeWitt HS, taught physical education and JV lacrosse coach. He helped coach J-D to the State semis in 2003 and ’05 and then became the J-D head coach in 2006, where his teams won four NYS Class B titles (2007, 2010, 2011, 2016) and were runners-up four times.
Tom Blackford (coach) – The winningest coach in Section 3 history has compiled a record of 607-290 (.677) in 41 years as a head coach. He has been the head basketball coach at Hamilton Central (27 seasons) and at Fayetteville-Manlius (14 seasons) for 41 consecutive campaigns now. He has guided teams to 15 league titles, six sectional tournaments, six regional crowns and two state championships, and has mentored 29 All-State selections, eight 1,000-point scorers and two New York State Players of the Year. He also has coached football, softball and girls lacrosse.
Bob Casullo (coach) – A 38-year coach, he spent 12 seasons in the high-school ranks (Henninger and Baldwinsville), 17 at the college level (Syracuse, Georgia Tech and Michigan State) and nine in the National Football League (Raiders, Jets, Seahawks and Buccaneers). He coached in one Section 3 title game, in 10 college bowl games, in 15 NFL playoff contests and in two Super Bowls.
Scott Cassidy (baseball) – An accomplished player and coach, Cassidy starred at Liverpool High School and LeMoyne College before playing Major League Baseball and now leads his alma mater’s baseball team at LeMoyne. In 13 seasons as the LeMoyne head coach he has a record of 323-252. As a player at Liverpool, he earned all-county honors as a senior after posting a 7-1 record and a 1.17 ERA. In 1994, he joined the Dolphins where he was a three-year starter and earned 1998 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Player of the Year honors. He posted 14 wins, pitched 18 complete games, carried a career ERA of 3.44 and struck out 153. At the time of his graduation in 1998, his 18 complete games were the most from the Division-I era and his 29 career starts ranked him second all-time in school history. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays right out of college as an amateur free agent and had a 10-year MLB career while managing Type I Diabetes. In 2001, he played for Team USA during the World Cup of Baseball in Taipei, Taiwan.
Irene Contos (softball, posthumous) – Born in 1925, she grew up during a time when there was really no opportunity for competitive women’s sports. Because schools didn’t have women’s softball teams, her only opportunity was recreational softball. At the young age of 13, she was asked to participate on a team of 17-and 18-year-olds. In 1946, Irene was asked to try out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. At the time, there was no way to pursue her career as a ball player and fulfill her inclination to be a wife and have a family, so she regretfully declined to participate in the League. But that did not stop her from stepping into the batter’s box locally in Syracuse from age 13 all the way to age 92. During the first decade of the 21st century, she pitched in the Empire State Senior Games for Softball, winning gold, silver, and bronze medals. She also starred on the basketball court, scoring 46 points in one game while she attended the Porter School. This was a Syracuse City record for more than 30 years. Irene passed away in 2022 at the age of 97.
Carolyn Davis (lacrosse) – A two-time US Lacrosse All-America First Team selection, the 2005 CNY Player of the Year and four-time all-CNY selection at Skaneateles HS recorded a then-New York state record 274 assists and tallied 262 goals for 536 career points. A New York State Championship All-Tournament team selection as a sophomore and senior, she starred for the 2004 Empire State Games’ gold medal-winning team. A four-time U.S. Lacrosse Academic All-American and member of the National Honor Society, she also lettered in soccer and ice hockey. At Duke, she earned All-America and All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors as a junior and senior.
Ronnie Legette Sr. – At Nottingham High School, he played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back for the Bulldogs in the fall, competed in the high jump in the spring, but it was in the winter, on the basketball court, where he earned the accolades. A three-time All-City selection and twice an All-Central New York honoree, he scored 1,264 points at Nottingham and, as a senior, led the Bulldogs to a 26-1 record and to the 1982 New York State Class B title. After high school he played at Salem College for two years followed by another two at West Virginia State, where as a senior co-captain to a 31-4 record and the 1987 NAIA national championship game.
Andy Melnyk (bowling) – The winner of three New York State titles (one a Doubles crown won with younger brother Ted), two City crowns, two Van Wie Sr. Doubles, Melnyk has been among the Syracuse bowling community’s stars for a half-century. He has bowled 40 perfect games, including the first 300-game ever at the Polish Home lanes in the 1970s, and 15 series over 800, including a career-high 824. In 2005-06, he had the highest individual league average (238) in the City of Syracuse in the Greater Syracuse League (GSL). Competing in 44 ABC and USBC National Tournaments, he averaged 199.57 over 396 games (ranks in the top 60 nationally all-time).
Sid Ogelsby (gymnastics) – A 1964 NCAA champion in the vault and a two-time All-American, Ogelsby also made an impact as a dedicated public servant. A trailblazer as the first African-American to win a National Championship, Ogelsby endured segregation, racism and the social issues that faced African-American student-athletes during that 1960s. As a sophomore, he was the Eastern Intercollegiate Gymnastic League champion in the parallel bars and vault. He made Syracuse his home and devoted his time to improving his community as a member of the Syracuse Common Council and Onondaga County Legislature, including as the Democratic Legislature Floor Leader, and as the Onondaga County Commissioner of Jurors (2001 to 2014).
Please join Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors as we welcome the Class of 2023 and honor all the athletes, coaches, and administrators who have contributed to Syracuse’s proud sports heritage.