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St. Joe's, Canisius honor beloved late Basketball coach

Normally at a St. Joe’s-Canisius contest the prevailing colors in the crowd are maroon and blue.

But Friday night, much of the crowd and even the players themselves (during warmups) donned a special black shirt. That black shirt had an emblem of basketball with the initials “GM” and “WOOOOOO” underneath to honor a man who embodied the best of both schools.

A 1998 Canisius grad and St. Joe’s Basketball coach, Gabe Michael brought the two sides together for a special tribute to him one month after his sudden passing.

Michael, 43, coached the Marauders for five years, winning the Manhattan Cup in 2021 – the program’s first in over a decade. He had also coached at Williamsville South and was an assistant for Canisius College and Medaille.

“Canisius High School talks about building men for others,” said former Medaille Men’s Basketball coach Mike McDonald in a video for Gabe Michael Tribute Day, “and there’s nobody who’s more of a man for others than Gabe Michael. St. Joe’s talks about brotherhood and there’s nobody who lives the life of brotherhood – to connect people – to make them feel like ‘he’s your brother’ than Gabe Michael.”

About a dozen friends, fellow coaches and former players shared similar sediments during the pregame video before the visiting Canisius beat archrival St. Joe’s 56-50.

In a lasting tribute to Michael, St. Joe’s announced that an Endowment Fund is being created in his honor.

Former Will South star Greg Dolan gave one of the commemorative game balls to the Michael Family during the pregame ceremony.

“You can see from all of the support here he was special to a lot of people,” said Dolan, who was on the 2016 Billies squad that Michael led to the NYSPHSAA semifinals. “After playing for him we became best friends. I want to support St. Joe’s and everything he was about and carry his legacy through.”

Nick Purdie led the Crusaders with 22 points Friday night. The Marauders were able to bounce back after falling behind 11-2 early – eventually coming within a possession of Canisius in the game’s final minutes.

“Gabe and I go way back,” Canisius coach Kyle Husband said. “It was his idea for us to play early in the season. I’m just really happy to be part of the tribute.”

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Lady Boss
Lady Boss
Dec 26, 2023


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