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Macker to Darien Lake official

What had been worst kept secret in Western New York.is now official: the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament will be held July 19-20 at Darien Lake.

Officials from Darien Lake, Gus Macker and Buffalo Police Athletic League Executive Director Modie Cox made the announcement Thursday at City Hall. More to come.

The death of Dr. Jack: Great links and audio clips from his days with the Braves

By Mike Harrington

Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay died today at age 89 and be sure to read Milt Northrop's tremendous reflection on Ramsay's life here.  Ramsay coached the Buffalo Braves from 1972-76 and Northrop covered the team throughout its history.

News Sports Reporter Budd Bailey has a fine online blog of Braves history and this segment documents the beginning of the Ramsay era. 

One of Ramsay's last interviews was apparently done with last month, albeit a brief one, with Jerry Sullivan, who wrote a column pushing the Sabres to honor the Braves in First Niagara Center.

And here's an incredible piece on ESPN.com written by Ramsay's son,  Chris,  who worked with his father at the network.

Former Bisons and Sabres voice Pete Weber, now the voice of the NHL's Nashville Predators,  emailed  me some audio clips of Ramsay from his voluminous collection of Buffalo sports sound. These are from a WEBR Radio documentary "Home of the Braves" and you can click to hear them below:

On the knee injury to Ernie DiGregorio

On Ernie D's return

On the 1975 trade of Gar Heard for John Shumate

Macker Tournament agreement near

There is an 80-90 percent chance there will be a Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament in Buffalo this summer, according to Buffalo Police Athletic League Executive Director Modie Cox.

Cox said an agreement is almost in place which will enable the event that is as much a part of Western New York as Beef on Weck to continue for a 24th straight year. Cox said his organization is just waiting for the PAL's attorney to sign off on the deal before inking the contract.

"I'm pretty confident it's going to be signed off on," Cox said.

An official announcement will be made as soon as possible, but it's to PAL's benefit to make it official quickly so that it can begin to secure sponsorships for the event that serves as one of the organization's main fundraisers for PAL activities. The tournament date is still to be determined but the ideal weekend for PAL would be the second-to-last one in June. The event has been in peril due to economics, as PAL lost a main sponsor of the Macker the past four years in ex-Buffalo Bill Terrance McGee and has been looking for a way to maximize profit while cutting tourney costs.

- Miguel Rodriguez

PAL meeting cancelled

I just received a text from PAL executive director Modie Cox that today's board meeting and vote on the future of Buffalo's Gus Macker Tournament has been postponed due to weather. No makeup date has been announced. - Miguel Rodriguez

Running notebook: Feast after the feast

The long holiday weekend still has some races on the calendar now that the Turkey Trot is over - with one "event" particularly noteworthy.

Last year I had the pleasure of attending the fourth annual Mighty Mile at Chestnut Ridge in Orchard Park. I watched as runners gulped down a taco, ran a quarter mile, eat another taco, ran some more, etc. - until they finished the mile. The story might have been my favorite of 2012. It's not a big reason, and not for every taste, but everyone has a lot of fun.

Black Friday is about to arrive, and the Mighty Mile will come with it. Runners will gather around noon, and the race should begin around 12:30. You can find more details on the Facebook page.

Meanwhile, there are a couple of more formal races on the calendar. Here's the review from buffalorunners.com:

* Home for the Holidays 5K, 135 East Center St. in Medina, 9 a.m. Saturday, (585) 590-0699.

* Amy King 5K, 9 Summit St. in Lakewood, 11 a.m. Saturday.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Man on the move

It was another day in the life of Ed Russell.

Last Sunday, he drove down to Irving from the Northtowns - no easy jaunt - for a 5K race there. Ed didn't hang around long afterwards, though. He had to get back to Buffalo for another 5K run - the Shea's Race. That's how someone does 90 races in a year before the end of September.

Ed will probably be busy on Saturday. It's September, and everyone wants to have a race in September. Even so, this particular September day is supposedly going to be a wet one. Ed, bring an extra shirt or two.

Here's the calendar from buffalorunners.com:

* Chautauqua Ultras, various, Mayville Lakeside Park in Mayville, 7 a.m. Saturday, 607-0328.

* Hospice Dash 5K, Porter--on-the-Lake Park in Youngstown, 9 a.m. Saturday, 998-5777.

* Dash for Dad/Zero Prostate Cancer 5K, Perry Street in Buffalo, 9 a.m. Saturday, 844-5646. This seemed like a natural for Father's Day, which the race tried last year. We'll see what happens this time around.

* Mighty Niagara Half Marathon, Artpark in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Saturday, 998-5777.

* Lebro's Fall Classic, 5K, 330 Campbell Blvd. in Getzville, 10 a.m. Saturday, 689-4507. It's a flat course, lots of food, and great premiums. No one leaves hungry or with complaints.

* Tails on Trails, 2.5 miles, Birdsong Park in Orchard Park, 10 a.m. Saturday, 662-6450 x2. Oh, and the dogs race free.

* Pheo Para Run, 5K, 3964 California Road in Orchard Park, 10 a.m. Saturday, 677-6788. This is to fight the rare cancer Paraganglioma and Pheochromocytoma, thankfully abbreviated here.

* 4 for the Corps, 4 miles, 145 North St. in Arcade, 10 a.m. Saturday, 912-8172. That should be enoughb of a choice for Saturday.

* Dash for Diversity, 9K relay, Delaware Park in Buffalo, 11 a.m. Sunday, 417-4331. This is an interesting idea - three-person teams take a lap around the Ring Road.

* Tanya's Trot for Epilepsy, 5K, Skyline Drive in Akron, 2 p.m. Sunday, 541-2315. Akron Falls Park is a great place for a run if you don't mind hills. And you should be done in time for the Bills' game, if that matters to you.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Crowded schedule

It was quite a week for local running. The WNY Running Hall of Fame race went extremely well, as the inductees also seemed to have a fine time. A surprise guest was Mary Wittenberg of New York Road Runners, who was there just to see some brothers run and it turned out she knew some of the inductees. The Fleet Feet 15K went off nicely on Monday morning, as a strong field turned out for a muggy morning. Then one of the last mid-week night races of the year took place in Wendelville. (There's one more in early October, the BobKat Run.) I'm not sure if the line for food at the picnic grounds has gone down yet.

Everyone likes to have a race in September because the weather is traditionally a bit cooler. I'll take time to note the loss of the Holy Angels Academy race, because the school closed over the summer. This one got washed out a year ago, and I was looked forward to trying again this year.

Here's the weekend schedule from Buffalorunners.com:

* Peach Festival 5K, 493 Center St. in Lewiston, 9 a.m. Saturday, 297-5831.

* Scrub Run 5K, Cazenovia Park in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. Saturday, 706-2104. It's a new race, and it's easy to wonder if the $25 (until last week) and $30 (through raceday) prices will scare some people off. It's always a danger unless there's a natural constituency.

* Derby Fair 5K, 7431 Erie Road in Derby, 10 a.m. Saturday, 947-0945.

* Headway Walk, Run & Wheel, 5K, The Hatch in Buffalo, 9:30 a.m. Sunday, 408-3103.

--- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Ten are in the lead pack

Can you wait several more days before you find out who will be this year's class in the Western New York Running Hall of Fame? You'll have to wait. The voting on which five of the 10 finalists will make the Hall took place on Wednesday, and the winners will be announced in The News a week from Sunday. Take it from a voter - any of the 10 certainly could end up honored.

It's a busy week for area running, now that the weather has warmed up again. (Note: the waterfront was rather chilly Saturday morning during the Heritage run). Here's the schedule from buffalorunners.com:

* Town of Tonawanda 5K, 1 Pool Plaza in Tonawanda, 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, 876-7424. I've done this race a couple of times, and it's a nice flat course for those so, ahem, inclined.

* Buffalo Greek Fest, 5K, 146 W. Utica St. in Buffalo, 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 796-3381. Greek food at a postrace party might be a nice switch from pizza and hot dogs.

* Run with the Rapids 5K, Old Falls St. in Niagara Falls, 9 a.m. on Saturday, 278-2111.

* Bully Free 5K, 71 Lorraine Ave. in Buffalo, 9 a.m. on Saturday, 816-4809. Let's welcome this new race to the list.

* Chris Griswold 5K, Como Park in Lancaster, 10 a.m. on Saturday, 685-2640. The organizers don't let anyone go away hungry, and many runners take home a door prize. Too bad my streak of winning lawn hoses at this race came to an end a while back.
 
* SSPP's Charge of the Knights 5K, 5480 Main St. in Williamsville, 6 p.m on Saturday, 440-8003. It's rare to have a Saturday night event, and this race almost sounds like it's a chess competition. Plenty of activity after the race by the sounds of it.

-- Budd Bailey

Running notebook: Warming trend

Now ... where are those short-sleeved t-shirts?

It's been time to get that particular item out of the closet lately, as we've had absolutely perfect running weather of late. Organizers of this weekend's races must have smiles as large as their faces.

Here's the schedule for the weekend, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* NCCC Alumni Association 5K Run, 3111 Saunders Settlement Road in Sanborn, 6 p.m. Friday, 614-5910. It's time to ramp up the schedule for night races, always a good sign. This one has been around for some time.

* Catalyst Race for a Cause, 2745 Seneca St. in West Seneca, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 824-4655.

* Allegany Adventure Runs, various trail runs, Allegany State Park in Salamanca, 9:30 a.m. Saturday 574-0888. With three different distances, there's something for everyone here.

* GBTC Grand Island Half Marathon (News Runner of the Year race), Beaver Island State Park in Grand Island, 10 a.m. Saturday. This is a staple of the running calendar, and a good warmup for the Memorial Day weekend marathon for those who choose to use it that way.

* Running Water 5K, Northtown Center in Amherst, 10 a.m. Saturday, 536-3004. This is an interesting course that feels like it's a long way from big-city life, which makes it an interesting change of pace.

* ARC of Orleans County/Terri Krieger Memorial 5K Run, 189 North Gravel Road in Medina, 2 p.m. Saturday, (585) 589-5516 (x227). Saturday afternoon races are very rare, but this event seems to like it.

One other note - the finalists have been selected in the voting for this year's class in the Western New York Running Hall of Fame. The selections will be announced the day before Memorial Day, better known as Buffalo Marathon day around these parts.

-- Budd Bailey

This Birthday in Buffalo Sports History: Elbert Dubenion

(Born on February 16, 1933) -- Buffalo sports figures have had plenty of good nicknames over the years. “Golden Wheels” ranks with any of them.

Elbert Dubenion was born in Georgia and played college football at Bluffton, a school in northwest Ohio. The college even has a tribute to Dubenion on its web site.

It took the wide receiver a year to land in professional football. He turned up in the first training camp in Bills’ history in 1960, which was held in East Aurora. Conditions were a little primitive, but Dubenion didn’t mind at all.

He moved into a starting job, and caught 42 passes that first year for 752 yards. That’s an average of about 18 yards per catch, showing his speed. By 1964 he averaged an amazing 27.1 yards per catch, and helped the Bills win an AFL title. Dubenion stayed with the team until 1968.

Then he moved smoothly into scouting, and spotted a wide receiver at a small Pennsylvania college who he thought had potential. Elbert Dubenion turned out to be right about Andre Reed.

--- Budd Bailey

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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