The Seton Hall community was saddened to hear that former basketball great Bobby Wanzer died at the age of 94 in his Pittsford, N.Y., home earlier this week.
Wanzer played two seasons for the Pirates, 1942-43 and 1946-47. The three-year gap was due to the program not competing for three years because of World War II. In his two seasons as a point guard for the Pirates, the team excelled with a 40-5 record.
“We are saddened by the passing of Seton Hall University Athletics Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer,” the school wrote in a statement. “He lived a tremendous life, one that we are proud to say included a memorable time in a Pirates uniform, helping our pro- gram reach a great level of success.
Whether it was playing basketball for Seton Hall University and the Rochester Royals, serving his country as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps or coaching student-athletes at St. John Fisher College, Bobby made an enormous impact on the lives of those around him. He was truly one of the all-time greats, and he will be missed and remembered.”
After his stay with the Hall, Wanzer entered the NBA. The Rochester Royals picked him No. 10 overall in the draft.
Wanzer helped the Royals, the franchise that eventually became the Sacramento Kings, go on to win the 1951 NBA Championship over the New York Knicks. In the Finals, Wanzer averaged 12.4 points and 3.6 points.
Wanzer stayed with the Royals through his nine seasons in the NBA. During that time, he averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Aside from being a five-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA Second Team selection, Wazner also set the then-league record for free throw percentage at 90.4 percent in 1952.
In his post-playing days, Wanzer coached the Royals for three and a half seasons and then became the first head coach at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, where he spent the next 24 years.
The Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame inducted Wanzer in 1974 and retired his uniform in 1987, the same year he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991.
Olivia Mulvihill can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @OliviaMulvihill.