Rob Gronkowski leads class of inductees into Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame


Staff member

Legendary NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski headlines the 2024 class of inductees into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.
Gronkowski, the Amherst native, is a four-time Super Bowl champion and five-time Pro Bowler who arguably ranks among Western New York's top five most accomplished athletes.

He caught 621 passes for 9,286 yards and 92 touchdowns over an 11-year NFL career that included nine seasons with the New England Patriots and two with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gronkowski retired after the 2021 NFL season. His touchdown reception total ranks third among tight ends in NFL history, behind only Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez.

Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski, left, and quarterback Tom Brady celebrate after defeating the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. Associated Press file photo

Gronkowski’s dominance as a blocker puts him in the discussion for the greatest tight end of all time. He starred at Williamsville North High School before finishing his prep career in Pennsylvania and playing collegiately at the University of Arizona.

Gronkowski is part of a 12-member class to the Buffalo hall, announced Thursday. Also to be inducted are:
  • Kevin Cadle, a basketball star at Baker-Victory High School who played collegiately at Penn State and went on to become the winningest pro basketball coach in Great Britain as well as a popular television commentator in England.
  • Vic Carucci, a nationally recognized sports writer who had a long career covering the Buffalo Bills for The Buffalo News, wrote 10 books on the NFL and serves on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.
  • Norm Foster, a legendary high school wrestling coach from Iroquois and Amherst high schools. His Iroquois teams won 10 straight Section VI titles and recorded 143 straight victories, a national record.
  • Warren Gelman, a three-sport high school star athlete and an influential builder of programs in the Western New York youth hockey community.
  • Rick Lancellotti, a star player with the Buffalo Bisons and a longtime leading baseball instructor in Western New York.
  • Bridget Niland, a record-setting track athlete at Williamsville South and the University at Buffalo and a longtime college administrator in Western New York.
  • Brooks Orpik, a Boston College hockey star and a two-time Stanley Cup champion, with Pittsburgh and Washington.
  • Cecelie Owens, holder of numerous Buffalo State basketball records and founder of the GIRLS (goals, integrity, respect, leadership, sports) Foundation.
  • Walt Stefani, legendary player, coach and volleyball administrator. He had a 559-159 coaching record over 34 years at Orchard Park High School.
  • Ed Van Tine, known as “the godfather of lacrosse” in Western New York, he introduced the sport to Buffalo State College, Canisius College, Hamburg High School and St. Francis High School.
  • Paul Wieland, a groundbreaking communications professional for the Buffalo Sabres.
Cadle, Foster, Van Tine and Wieland are deceased.

In addition to the inductee class, the St. Bonaventure men’s basketball teams from 1967-70 will be honored as the 2024 Team of Distinction at the Hall of Fame.

The class will be introduced at a news conference on June 19, and the induction ceremony will be held in November.
I wrestled against those Iroquois teams.
The Slade brothers, Jeff and Todd were unbeatable