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This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Larry Costello

     (Born July 2, 1931) -- Basketball was part of Larry Costello's life almost from beginning to end. He included a stop in Western New York along the way.

     Costello was part of some great Niagara teams in the early 1950s. The suburban Syracuse star was the leading scorer in the history of the Purple Eagles upon graduation. On Feb. 21, 1953, he played all but one minute of a six-overtime game with Siena. He later changed his uniform number to 69.

     The 6-foot-1 guard was taken in the second round by Philadelphia. He became a starter in Syracuse, and played 12 seasons in the NBA. Costello was one of the last of the two-handed set shooters.

     He moved into the coaching ranks from there. Costello coached the 1971 Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA championship, resigning in 1976.

     From there, he coached a women's basketball team in Milwaukee for a while. Then he spent eight seasons coaching Utica College as it tried to move up the ladder in the college ranks. Costello died of cancer in 2001.

--- Budd Bailey

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