Class of 2017 Announced for National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame

From DSBA Member George Eichorn: Class of 2017 Announced for National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame
Football Coach Gary Kubiak and NBA referee Steve Javie won election to the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame in nationwide balloting for the Class of 2017. Olympic women’s basketball star Juliene Brazinski Simpson and fencing coach Janusz Bednarski were also selected for induction by the Hall’s Veterans Committee. 

In the Major Sports category Kubiak was the leading vote-getter by far, outdistancing Conrad Dobler and Mark Grudzielanek in his first year on the ballot. In the All Other Sports category Javie edged swimmer Rachel Komisarz. Javie finished second to Ann Meyers Drysdale last year.

Kubiak’s great grandfather came to Texas in the 1880s from the Poznan region of Poland. Gary grew up in Houston, and was a star quarterback in high school and at Texas A & M. He played for the Denver Broncos for nine seasons before entering coaching. Kubiak served as head coach of the NFL’s Houston Texans from 2006 to 2013 and of the Broncos in 2015 and 2016. After leading Denver to victory in Super Bowl 50 he retired due to health concerns.

Javie was preceded in the Hall by his father, Stan, a 30-year NFL official who worked four Super Bowls. Stan’s parents (the original name was Jaworowski) came from Poland and settled in Philadelphia. Steve played baseball at Temple, and later umpired. He eventually went on to referee in the NBA for 26 years, where he earned a reputation as a tough but outstanding official. Currently he provides officiating analysis for the TV broadcasts of the NBA Finals.

Brazinski Simpson was a women’s basketball trailblazer who helped the U.S. win the silver medal in 1976 in the first ever women’s Olympic basketball competition. The New Jersey native was also co-captain of the squad. The talented point guard was a four-time All-America player and led John F. Kennedy College to national championships in 1973 and 1974. “Jules” was selected to represent the United States in 11 international competitions.

Bednarski was head men’s and women’s fencing coach at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, winning NCAA Team Championships in 2003, 2005 and 2011. His pupils won 14 individual championships including two gold medals in the 2008 Olympics. The Warsaw native previously served as head coach of Poland’s Olympic Team from 1978-88, with team-members winning 11 medals between Olympic Games and World Championship competitions during that era. He received the prestigious Polish Silver Cross of Merit for his coaching accomplishments.
The inductions will be held on Thursday, June 22, 2017, at the American Polish Cultural Center in Troy, Michigan. Tickets for the banquet are $100 and can be ordered by calling George Eichorn at (586) 596-1282 or  Advertising opportunities in the NPASHF Annual Yearbook are also available at the same name/number. 
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