The epitome of a sports legend, Joseph K. Schwarzer is a classic role model in every sense of the word. Schwarzer played football, basketball and baseball as a student at Syracuse University and was a team captain in all three sports. A two-time All-American at Syracuse and captain of the 1918 National Championship team, Schwarzer was considered an excellent ball handler and a free throw shooting expert for the team (at that time, one player was designated to shoot all the free throws for a team). He was considered the best center in the East while he played.
Besides basketball, Schwarzer also lettered in football (four times) and in baseball. He was an All-American end on the football team in 1918, a team that went 8-1-1. Schwarzer earned his law degree at SU. He was declared ineligible to play basketball his senior season by the university due to a ruling by the Athletic Committee stating he exhausted his varsity eligibility by starting for three seasons. While in college, he coached SU’s freshmen basketball squad. One of his players was the legendary Vic Hanson and his frosh team rolled to a 17-0 season.
During the 1920’s, Schwarzer was an assistant football coach for SU, New York University and was head coach at Manhattan College. The legendary Roy Simmons, Sr. once said this about Schwarzer: “He was a great coach, great coach! I loved that guy. He was a fine coach and a fine athlete.” Schwarzer coached Simmons during the 1922, ’23 and ’24 seasons at SU.
Following his playing and coaching careers, Schwarzer served as an official with the Eastern College Athletic Association Football Officials from 1940 until his retirement in the mid 1960s. He served as ECAC President during this period.
Schwarzer’s later years included many community, church and Masonic activities and his work in real estate. One of his favorite assignments was President of the Blind Men and Criers Marching and Chowder Society.
1916-1919: Played football, baseball and basketball at SU and lettered in each sport
1927: Head football coach at Manhattan College
1935: One of the founding members of The Blindmen and Criers Society
1940’s-60’s: Served as an umpire with the Eastern Intercollegiate Association of football officials, served as president in the mid 1940’s
1954-1956: Board Chairman of the Syracuse Nationals of the NBA (2 seasons)
1974: Received SU’s Letter of Distinction Award
2000: Selected to the SU All-Century Basketball team