On Monday, December 15, Regis concluded its year-long centennial celebrations with one final event. The Centennial Athletics Homecoming attracted an overwhelming number of alumni, ranging from the class of 1948 to current students.
All in attendance participated in night of honoring the history of Regis varsity sports. Prior to the beginning of the formal program, mini reunions for varsity athletes from each sport took place throughout the building. Once all attendees arrived in the auditorium, Mike Walczewski ’73 began the program by providing a brief overview of a century of Regis athletics. Walczewski, best known as the voice of Madison Square Garden, has served as MSG’s public address announcer for the past 25 years.
Bringing a bit of humor to his delivery, Walczewski, who is accustomed to announcing from what’s known as “the world’s most famous arena” noted that for this evening he would be lending his voice to “the world’s most famous high school”.
“Whenever Regis comes up in conversation, rarely do the words ‘athletic dominance’ enter the discussion,” began Walczewski. “But that probably has less to do with athletic triumph and more to do with the academic rigor that is synonymous with a Regis education. Because let’s be honest: 100 years of competitive sports has led to some pretty remarkable accomplishments for a small Catholic school. Our alumni include an Olympic fencer, an NBA forward, an MLB draft pick, and a multitude of graduates who competed at the NCAA level.”
Above: Mike Walczewski '73, best known as the voice of Madison Square Garden, began the evening's program by providing a brief overview of a century of Regis athletics.
He then took time to highlight some of the major accomplishments earned by the various sports teams throughout the past 100 years. Those accomplishments were also showcased in the event program and on large-scale team banners that hung from the “rafters” of the Regis auditorium, adding to the event’s sports theme.
Two highlights of the overview included an acknowledgement of Joe Breen ’48, who was an integral member of the 1948 varsity basketball team that earned the title of National Champions. Breen received a standing ovation from the entire audience. “It was quite a memorable moment,” said Breen afterwards about the unexpected ovation. “I never had anything like that before in my life.”
Walczewski also took a moment to acknowledge that the class of 1948 is also the eldest of three classes to produce a future President of Regis, Fr. Joseph A. O’Hare, S.J. ’48. Fr. O’Hare received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd as well.
Walczewski concluded his time by introducing his MSG colleagues and esteemed speakers for the evening, Mike Breen P’09’15 and Walt “Clyde” Frazier.
The signature voice of the NBA, Mike Breen is the lead play-by-play announcer for New York Knicks telecasts on MSG. Breen is also the lead national play-caller for the NBA, including the NBA Finals, on ABC and ESPN.
A graduate of Southern Illinois University, which he led to a National Invitation Tournament Championship, Walt “Clyde” Frazier was the New York Knicks’ first round draft pick in 1967. He played in New York for 10 years and helped the Knicks capture two World Championships. Along the way he was named to the NBA’s All-Star Team seven times. In 1996, Frazier was named one of the fifty greatest players in NBA history.
Breen proceeded to conduct a conversational interview with Frazier that included a healthy amount of audience participation with questions posed to Frazier. The talk covered a variety of topics, ranging from Frazier’s time as an athlete, critiques of the current New York Knicks team, and thoughts on the accomplished broadcasting careers of the two presenters.
At the conclusion of the event, all in attendance were invited to a reception in the rear of the auditorium. But before the program officially ended, Frazier took to the podium to make it clear that he would stay as long as necessary to take photos and sign autographs. An appreciative audience took him up on his offer, and a great evening was preserved for many with photos and signed programs.
Above: Frazier thanked the Regis audience for their warm welcome and offered to stay for pictures and autographs.
Above: Regians of all generations packed the auditorium and balcony to listen to Mike Breen P'09'15 and Walt "Clyde" Frazier.
Above: Prior to beginning the evening's program, Walt Frazier and Mike Breen took a moment to greet Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J. '48, former President of Regis.
Above: Mike Breen and Walt Frazier pose for a photograph with Rev. Philip G. Judge, S.J. '80, President of Regis.
Above: (Left) Joe Breen '48, a member of the 1948 national championship basketball team, greets Walt Frazier; (Right) Bernie Tracey '51 has his Regis varsity letter signed by the New York Knicks legend.