DUQUESNE ATHLETICS SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Duquesne University established a Sports Hall of Fame in 1963. The first inductees were basketball standouts Paul Birch and Charles "Chick" Davies and football legends Aldo "Buff" Donelli, Rev. Silas "Dan" Rooney and Samuel "Sammy" Weiss,
Over 250 athletes and others who contributed to the excellence of Duquesne athletics are currently in the Hall of Fame. Please click on one of the links below for more information.
Alphabetical List | Year of Induction List
To nominate someone for the Duquesne Athletics Sports Hall of Fame, please click here.
DUKES IN THE PROS / OLYMPIANS
To learn more about Duquesne's rich history of producing world-class athletes, please click here.
DUQUESNE ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
40 Student-Athletes have combined for a total of 58 awards. To view the complete list, please click here.
THEY WORE RED AND BLUE
DERRICK ALSTON (basketball 1991-94)
Second round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers. Played three NBA seasons with the Sixers and Atlanta Hawks.
JOE BEIMEL (baseball 1998)
Left-handed pitcher enjoyed a 13-year Major League Baseball career. Played for seven Major League teams (last was Seattle in 2015).
LEIGH BODDEN (football 1999-2002)
Undrafted free agent cornerback enjoyed a nine-year NFL career with the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and New England Patriots.
CHUCK COOPER (basketball 1947-50) - 2019 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee
"I don't give a damn if he's striped or plaid or polka-dot, Boston takes Charles Cooper of Duquesne!" were the history-making words of Boston Celtics owner Walter Brown when he made Duquesne's Chuck Cooper the first black player drafted by a National Basketball Association team in 1950. Cooper, who attended Pittsburgh's Westinghouse High School, attended DU on the GI Bill. He led the Dukes to a 78-19 record and two NIT appearances in his four-year career and captained a 1949-50 squad - the first Duquesne team to be ranked for an entire season by the Associated Press - to a 23-6 record and No. 6 national ranking. Cooper, who played in the NBA for six seasons, died on Feb. 5, 1984. He was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September of 2019.
ALDO "BUFF" DONELLI (football player and coach) - 1954 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee
Served as captain of Duquesne's first undefeated team (9-0-1 in 1929) and later coached the second undefeated squad in school history (8-0-1 in 1939), posted a 29-4-2 mark in four seasons as head coach of the Dukes from 1939-42. Two of his four DU teams finished ranked in the nation's top 10 (No. 10 in 1939 and No. 8 in 1941). The `41 Dukes were one of just three schools to finish the season undefeated and untied. Later in his career, Donelli coached at Columbia (1957-67) where he led the Lions to the 1961 Ivy League title. Donelli, who died in 1994 at the age of 87, may be more widely known for his exploits on the pitch as a world class soccer player. Donelli, who was inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1954, scored four goals in the United States' 4-2 win over Mexico in a 1934 World Cup qualifying game and added the only U.S. goal in a 7-1 loss to Italy in the first round. Donelli also gained fame as the only person to coach college and professional football at the same time. In 1941, when Donelli was leading Duquesne to an 8-0-0 record and No. 8 (AP) ranking, Pittsburgh Steelers part-owner Art Rooney (for whom Duquesne's home football field is named) asked Donelli to take over for another part-owner, Bert Bell, who coached the Steelers to back-to-back losses to open the season. Donelli coached the Steelers in the morning and the Dukes in the afternoon, finishing up at 6:00 p.m. After five games with the Steelers - all losses - and with the Dukes at 6-0, Donelli was faced with the choice of going with Duquesne for a game at St. Mary's (Calif.) or accompanying the Steelers to a game at Philadelphia. He received an ultimatum from NFL commissioner Elmer Layden, who was Donelli's coach during his playing days at Duquesne, to choose one job or the other. Donelli chose Duquesne.
SIHUGO GREEN (basketball 1954-56)
Is the only two-time consensus first team All-American in DU history (1955 and 1956). Averaged 19.8 points and 11.5 rebounds per game as a Duke. DU went 65-17 with three NIT appearances, including the 1955 NIT title, in his three-year career. The '55 title stands as the only national championship ever won by a Duquesne University sports team. Went on to have a nine-year NBA career, capped by a World Championship with the 1966 Boston Celtics.
KORIE HLEDE (basketball 1995-98)
Three-time All-American is the leading scorer in DU history. The Zagreb, Croatia native played five seasons in the WNBA for the Detroit Shock, Utah Starzz and New York Liberty. Also was an assistant coach for two years with the Shock.
MIKE JAMES (basketball 1995-98)
A former undrafted free agent, James had the longest NBA career of any player in Duquesne history (12 seasons ending in 2014). Played for the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Hornets, Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls. Was part of the Pistons 2003-04 NBA Championship team.
ELMER LAYDEN (football 1927-33)
Coached the Duquesne football team for seven seasons (1927-33) before taking the head coach job at his alma mater, Notre Dame.
NORM NIXON (basketball 1974-77)
Was the first Player of the Year in Atlantic 10 history. Handed out a school record 577 assists while averaging 17.4 ppg. for his career. Was the 1977 first round NBA draft choice of the Los Angeles Lakers. Enjoyed a 10-year NBA career. Was a member of the 1978 NBA All-Rookie Team and two-time NBA All-Star. Was a starter for Los Angeles Lakers World Championship teams in 1980 and 1982. Finished his NBA career with 12,065 points and 6,386 assists
CUMBERLAND POSEY, JR. (basketball, early 1900's) - 2006 National Baseball Hall of Fame / 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee
Duquesne, which was at the forefront among predominately white colleges in the recruitment of Black athletes, lists Cumberland Posey, Jr. as its first recorded Black athlete. Posey, who led the Dukes in scoring for three seasons from 1916-18 under the name of Charles Cumbert, is considered to have been instrumental in introducing basketball to the Black community in the early 1900s. Prior to his stint at Duquesne, Posey formed the Monticello Rifles - one of the first great Black barnstorming basketball teams. The Rifles, under Posey, eventually absorbed all of Pittsburgh's best black fives to form the Loendi Big Five, a team that became a dynasty by winning four-straight Colored Basketball World Championships between 1920 and 1923. Posey went on to greater fame as the manager and later owner of the fabled Homestead Grays of the Negro Baseball League. On Feb. 27, 2006, Posey was honored for his contributions to the game by being one of 17 Negro League greats selected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. On April 4, 2016 his contribution to the game of basketball was recognized when he became the first person to be named to both the National Baseball and Naismith Basketball Halls of Fame.
DICK RICKETTS (basketball 1952-55)
Averaged 17.7 points and 12.2 rebounds per game in leading the Dukes to a 92-19 record and four NIT appearances in his four-year career. Helped Duquesne to a Top 10 Associated Press final rank in each of his four seasons. Was a consensus first team All-American in 1955 along with teammate Sihugo Green. Captained the '55 NIT champion Dukes and earned consensus second team All-America honors in 1954. Is still DU's all-time leading scorer (1,963) and rebounder (1,359). Played three seasons in the NBA and also played briefly for Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals.
ART ROONEY (football 1920s)
Was a quarterback/kicker for Duquesne football teams in the early 1920s. Founder and President of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 1964.
WILLIE SOMERSET (basketball 1962-65)
Scored more points in three seasons (1,725) than any other Duquesne player. Topped the 30-point mark a school-record 16 times in his three-year career. Was forced to miss the 1962-63 season with a leg injury. Led DU to NIT appearances in 1962 & 1964, earning All-America honors in 1965. Averaged 22.7 ppg. for his career. Played professionally for three seasons for the NBA Baltimore Bullets and ABA Houston Mavericks.
The nickname "Dukes" goes back to the changing of the name of the university from The University of the Holy Ghost to Duquesne University of the Holy Ghost in 1911. The Duquesne name was chosen in honor of Marquis Duquesne, who built Fort Duquesne at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers in 1754, and is recognized as the first man to bring Catholic observances to the City of Pittsburgh.
Since a Marquis and a Duke dress similarly, the unofficial symbol of the school's athletic teams became a man dressed in a top hat, tails and a sash of royalty across his chest. "Dukes" being more readily known than "Marquis," the name Duke was popularly assigned to the symbol and stuck ever since the fall of 1911.
The Duquesne Department of Athletics unveiled its new "Duke" mascot prior to the Jan. 18, 2003 game vs. Richmond. The Duke, who sports a dapper navy blue suit with red piping, a red shirt with a red bow tie and red gloves, stands a shade over 7-feet tall complete with an oversized head and black top hat. The new Duke replaces "Duke the Bear" who was a fixture at DU athletic events since 1996.
Duquesne's school colors of red and blue, the colors of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, have been in place since the school's inception.
THE FIGHT SONG
The Victory Song (Red and Blue) was written in 1926. It was composed, words and music by the Reverend Thomas J. Quigley (class of '27). Chorus:
We'll sing hooray for the Red and Blue,
A big hooray for the Red and Blue;
For the flag we love on to victory,
And when the foe is down,
we will raise a mighty shout
And sing hooray for the Red and Blue;
We're all your sons and daughters true.
Now with all your might, give them
for the grand old Red and Blue.