NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – Niagara University will officially unveil the naming of the Gallagher Center court after Frank and Barbara Layden on Saturday, Dec. 6, before the Purple Eagles host Canisius College at 3 p.m. Niagara University will hold several events celebrating this occasion, including a panel discussion with college basketball legends.

The festivities begin on Friday, Dec. 5, when Frank Layden will participate in the pregame puck drop ahead of the Niagara hockey team’s game against Holy Cross at 7:05 p.m.

On Saturday, a Legacy of Niagara Basketball panel will be held in the Castellani Art Museum at 11 a.m. The panel features Frank Layden, ’55, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers Hubie Brown, ’55, and Calvin Murphy, ’70, and United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Hall of Famer Dick Weiss. To RSVP for the panel, please contact Jennifer Ebbole at 716.286.8600 by Tuesday, Nov. 25. Admission is free, but reservations are required.

Layden, who played for Niagara from 1951-55 under John ‘Taps’ Gallagher, is a pro and collegiate basketball coaching legend. He led his alma mater for eight seasons, including taking Niagara to the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament in 1970. Layden finished his coaching tenure at Niagara at the end of the 1976 season with 119 career wins, which were second at the time to Gallagher.

Layden’s next move was to the NBA where he worked as an assistant coach for the Atlanta Hawks (1976-79), and with the Jazz organization as general manager (1979-87), head coach (1981-89) and president (1989-99). Layden was named the 1983-84 NBA Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year, and was the recipient of the NBA’s J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, which is annually given to a player or coach who shows outstanding service and dedication to the community.

By his side is his wife, Barbara. The couple has always been committed to community service. The Laydens have supported many charitable causes including cancer awareness, crime prevention, and child abuse. In 2013, Frank and Barbara were named the Humanitarian of the Year by Catholic Community Services of Utah for his inspiring work in the community.

Brown was a standout basketball and baseball player at Niagara from 1951-55. During his collegiate basketball career, his teams went 74-39 overall and recorded a 14-2 record while playing as a ranked team. The Purple Eagles also went to three straight NIT tournaments. He was a two-time NBA Coach of the Year, with the Atlanta Hawks in 1978 and the Memphis Grizzles in 2004. His work as a television commentator earned Brown two Sports Emmy Award nominations as well as the Basketball Hall of Fame Curt Gowdy Electronic Media Award.

Murphy has become synonymous with Niagara basketball. By the conclusion of his illustrious career, he became the program’s all-time leading scorer en route to collecting numerous national accolades. He led Niagara to its first NCAA Tournament appearance during the 1969-70 season, holds the third highest single-game scoring record in NCAA history, and his career scoring average of 33.2 points per game still ranks fourth in NCAA history.

Weiss covered college football, college and professional basketball for the Philadelphia Daily News and the New York Daily News for more than 40 years. He is the past president of the U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association and the Football Writers’ Association, has received the Curt Gowdy award for outstanding contributions to basketball from the Naismith Hall of Fame, and the Burt McGrane Award for outstanding contributions to college football from the Football Writers Association and the College Football Hall of Fame.

Purple Eagles fans will have several opportunities to cheer on Niagara Athletics during the special weekend. The men’s basketball team faces rival Canisius on Dec. 6 on ESPN3, the women’s basketball team hosts Saint Peter’s on Friday, Dec. 5 ,at 6 p.m. and Manhattan on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m., and  the hockey team welcomes Holy Cross for a two-game series on Dec. 5-6 at 7:05 p.m.

For ticket information, please contact the Niagara Athletics Ticket Office at 716-286-8499,, or

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