Cindy Breski

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Softball Superstar & Tonawanda Coach

While many of today’s high school athletes do not play sports beyond their prep years, Cindy Breski was just getting started. With no interscholastic sports available for girls when Cindy attended Lancaster High School (1961-65), she was forced to find other outlets for her many talents. Cindy remembers growing up playing stickball with the boys in her neighborhood. She also recalls how difficult it was when they went off to play Little League while she could only watch. She wasn’t a spectator for long.

Cindy provided a glimpse of what was to come when at 16 she bowled a sanctioned 718 series, a world record for junior girls at the time.

She remembers the pride she felt getting her first uniform at age 17 when she joined Tommy O’Brien’s Kicks & Eddie’s softball team in 1964. Nicknamed “Big B” by her teammates, she played the next 12 years in the Amateur Softball Association, earning All-American honors in 1975.

That same year, she became the first woman named Amateur Athlete of the Year by the Buffalo Athletic Club, breaking a 40-year precedent.

She played two seasons (1976-77) for the Buffalo Breskis in the short-lived International Professional Women’s Softball Association and was one of the league’s highest paid players at $3,000 a year.

In 1969 she earned a teaching degree from Brockport, where she was a three-sport standout and in the fall of that year, she began a career teaching physical education at Tonawanda High School. She immediately went to work trying to provide opportunities for girls that were once denied to her. Cindy once said: “I’ve often told myself I was born to coach.”

She coached the varsity basketball program and over the course of the following three decades, had a 204-213 record with two Niagara Frontier League titles and 11 sectional appearances.

In 11 soccer seasons (1975-86), the Warriors were 103-37-12 with four Niagara Frontier League titles. She also served as the Section VI soccer chairperson from 1983-86 and instituted the first sectional and regional competition for girls.

Cindy started the softball program at Tonawanda High in 1970, remaining until 1975. She also coached the Western Region Open softball team at the Empire State Games from 1986-92 and the team earned four gold and two silver medals. She was an assistant softball coach at Buffalo State from 1990-95 and helped the Bengals win SUNYAC and New York State championships.

Cindy joins her fourth Hall of Fame tonight and becomes the first softball player to gain induction. She’s also a member of the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame (1984), the ASA Hall of Fame for Metro Buffalo (1999) and the Tonawanda High School Athletic Wall of Fame (2001).