General Bass

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Community Leader and Tennis Coach

Like his name would suggest, General Bass was a leader in so many ways. From becoming one of the very first African American men to graduate from Canisius College to introducing tennis to inner city youth, General Bass was an iconic sports figure and community leader in Western New York.

Bass was born in South Carolina, however he lived in Buffalo for most of his 82 years. He was a baseball and basketball star at Hutchinson Central HS. After receiving his diploma from Canisius, he became one of the city’s first black police officers – a job he proudly held for 19 years.

He was also a teacher in the Buffalo public schools where he happily introduced his athletic passion of tennis to many children who had previously only been exposed to basketball and football. He went onto develop programs at local centers, and directed the Police Athletic League before being hired by GBSHOF inductee Dr. Daniel P. Starr to coach the women’s tennis team at his alma mater.

From 1983-96, Bass posted an amazing mark of 127-66 that included 10 consecutive winning campaigns and nine years with at least 10 wins. He took third three times in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and was inducted into the Canisius Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

In addition to tennis, General loved the sport of baseball. He played for the Buffalo Negro Giants, a barnstorming team that played games throughout the region. He was quite proud of his association with both Willie Mays and Joe Louis and loved to “show them around town” when they came to Buffalo.

General Bass passed away at the age of 82 in May of 2002.