Basketball & Football
When you turn back the clock and talk about the old Parochial League, the discussion would not be lengthy before the name Adam Markowski came up.
Markowski’s 1958-59 Sacred Heart basketball team set a standard that can only be equaled, never broken. Led by sophomore Gene Fisch — who would become a Hall of Famer — and senior Dick Pospiech, the Hearts went undefeated. That alone is a sufficient credential for Hall of Fame consideration. But Markowski’s career as an athlete and coach made him an easy choice as the Veterans’ Committee inductee for the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame.
In Parochial League regular-season play, Markowski’s basketball teams went 116-40, a .744 winning percentage. That’s outstanding, and all the more remarkable because in Sacred Heart’s first official Parochial League season, the school had no seniors and still went 8-10 in ’57. When the high school had opened in ’55, there were nine freshmen boys; in ’56, frosh and sophs played a non-league schedule against the rest of the PL. In ’58, Sacred Heart was finally a four-year high school. Markowski’s team went 15-3. Then came the 21-0 unbeatens, winning the Parochial championship as well as Diocesan crown, defeating Seton High of Endicott. Talk about the greatest scholastic hoop teams in Syracuse history: don’t forget to mention the ’59 Hearts.
The next two seasons produced a pair of regular-season titles and one playoff crown. After a slight dip in ’62 and ’63, the ’64 team — led by son Jody and Len Banach Jr .— won regular-season and playoff titles. Markowski, who worked at General Electric, left the Hearts after ’65 because his job required an overseas assignment. His basketball teams won four regular-season crowns, three playoff titles and a pair of Diocesan championships. He also coached baseball, winning several Parochial titles and an all-City championship in ’63. In the ’70s, Markowski worked for New York State.
Before he was a great coach, Markowski was an outstanding athlete — an all-City performer in football and basketball at Central High who also played both sports at Syracuse University. At Central, he played end on the ’33 football team, coached by Emmett ‘Pat’ Kane. That team went to the Orange Bowl, representing the North, for a New Year’s Day game against Miami Edison.
A great leader, disciplinarian and teacher, his positive influence on so many student-athletes is reason enough why Adam Markowski, albeit posthumously, is a member of the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2013.