Announcing the 2022 GSSHOF Class
Seven notable figures in the Greater Syracuse sports landscape will be enshrined
in the Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame as the Class of 2022. Mel Besdin
(basketball), Kevin Collins (cross country), Linda LeMura (basketball), Bill Motto
(athletic administrator), Latavius Murray (football), Scott Schwedes (football) and
Judy Modafferi-Tearney (martial arts) will comprise the group of honorees who will
be recognized on Friday, November 11th at the annual Hall of Fame Dinner and
Induction Ceremony. The addition of the Class of 2022 will bring the GSSHOF
honoree total to 262 since the first induction ceremony in 1987.
Meet the Class of 2022:
Mel Besdin (basketball) - The graduate of Central High School and Manlius Military
Academy (prep school) played collegiate hoops at Syracuse University. At Central, he
scored a City-record 56 points against Smith Tech in 1949 and more than 20
points-a-game during his scholastic career. He led the Manlius Military Academy in
scoring in 1950-51 and then did the same as a senior captain for the Orange. After being
selected in the 1954 NBA Draft by the Syracuse Nats, he served in the Army. He returned to Upstate New York to work for various non-profits, including the Rochester Jewish Community Center and the Syracuse JCC.
Kevin Collins (cross country) - A three-time Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier who started running competitively in seventh grade, Collins was the first American finisher at the 1996 Boston and 2001 Los Angeles Marathons. In 2002 he was the top-ranked marathoner in the US and in 2003 was the top American finisher at the IAAF World Marathon Championship in Paris. A Cicero North Syracuse HS graduate and five-time high school All-American, he is already recognized in the Syracuse Mountain Goat 10-mile and Schenectady Stockadeathon 15K Halls of Fame, and won the Road Scholar Award from the Road Runners Club of America.
Linda LeMura (basketball) - The 14th president of LeMoyne College first gained fame as an athlete at Bishop Grimes High School and then Niagara University. A three-sport athlete at Grimes, running track and playing tennis and basketball, she stood out on the court. After leading the team to the OHSL Central co-championship she went to Niagara where the Purple Eagles posted a four-year 86-26 record. She earned a Ph.D. from SU before embarking on her career in education. In 2014 she made history when she became the first female layperson to be named president of a Jesuit institution of higher education in the United States.
Bill Motto (athletic administrator) - As the president of the Syracuse Sports Corporation for more than 20 years, he helped to bring the National Sr. Olympics and many other national and regional competitions to our community. He chaired tournament operations for the MONY Syracuse Seniors Pro Golf Classic, served on the Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau Advisory Board, chaired the Chamber of Commerce's Sports Advisory Committee, and served as president, executive committee member and dinner chair for the GSSHOF. In addition, he owned Bill Motto Consulting, was a partner in Motto LaGuardia Events, taught at Cazenovia College and was a basketball coach at a number of area colleges.
Latavius Murray (football) - The New York State Gatorade Player of the Year and first-team all-state selection became the Conference USA Championship Game and Liberty Bowl Most Valuable Player at the University of Central Florida before being selected for the National Football League Pro Bowl. He started his gridiron career in Nedrow playing for the Toolon Tigers Pop Warner team before becoming a three-sport star at Onondaga Central HS. He earned his undergraduate degree from UCF and an MBA at Syracuse University and continues to give back to the CNY community through The Hart and TayTrain Foundation, which he started with GSSHOF member Mike Hart and is currently working to open the 'Jon Diaz Community Center' in Nedrow to honor his lifetime friend and to provide area kids a location for studies, sports and a safe place to “hang out”.
Scott Schwedes (football) - A National Football League player who starred on the gridiron and lacrosse field at Jamesville-DeWitt HS. He chose to play for the Syracuse Orange so he could pursue both sports in college. A 1986 Sporting News All-American, he is the only SU receiver to catch, run and pass for a TD in the same game, and he owns the Orange record for consecutive games with a reception (40). After four seasons in the NFL, the 1987 NFL All-Rookie punt returner returned to CNY where he has coached Pop Warner football and youth lacrosse.
Judy Modafferi-Tearney (martial arts) - A nationally-ranked martial arts competitor who started here career in 1974, she has taught karate thousands of kids and adults of all ages and professional. In 1987 she created and choreographed the first nationally marketed martial arts video, 'Karate Aerobics' which was shown extensively on cable tv. In 2019 she became the first, and remains the only, woman in CNY to earn the title of Hanshi, the equivalent of 10th degree Black Belt. Recognized as International Martial Arts Woman of the Year in 1990, EFC Black Belt Schools Martial Artist of the Year in 1994 and Martial Artist of the Year by the US Martial Arts Association in 1996, she was also named to Who’s Who in American Martial Arts.
Please join Greater Syracuse Sports Hall of Fame Board of Directors as we welcome the Class of 2022 and honor all the athletes, coaches and administrators who have contributed to Syracuse’s proud sports heritage.
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