Niagara University will recognize NU Hall of Famer Phil Scaffidi with a bobblehead day when the men's basketball team hosts Rider at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12. The first 1,200 fans in attendance will receive a Scaffidi bobblehead.
"It's an honor to recognize Phil Scaffidi and his family who have meant so much to the Niagara University and Western New York community," said NU Interim Director of Athletics Steve Butler.
No one player captured the spirit and determination of the Niagara community more than Scaffidi, who has a gymnasium named after himself on the Monteagle Ridge campus. Scaffidi played basketball for the Purple Eagles from 1975 to 1980 and has his No. 3 jersey retired in the rafters of the Taps Gallagher Center.
He came to campus after a two-year stint in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization as a hard-nosed, gritty player from St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. The 6-0 guard had a knack for hitting big shots during his career. As captain of the 1978-79 team, he was on his way to setting the all-time assist record and scoring 1,000 career points in his senior year when he entered a Buffalo hospital with kidney-liver problems and tests indicated cancer.
He underwent an operation in Colorado and was treated at Buffalo's Roswell Park Memorial Institute. He was able to return to the court for six games in the 1979-80 campaign. On Jan. 21, 1980, he scored eight points and added two assists to set the Niagara all-time assist mark with 403 and lead Niagara to a 105-91 win over Cleveland State. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association honored him with the 1979-80 Most Courageous Award. He died March 23, 1980, ending a 15-month fight against cancer.
Scaffidi was inducted into the Niagara Athletics Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.