Gordon Bukaty

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During Gordon Bukaty’s long and successful career at Lackawanna High School, he was a four-sport standout athlete, a championship winning football coach and an impactful athletic director. In fact, the only period of time that Bukaty wasn’t involved with the Steelers was the four years he attended the University at Buffalo.

As a student-athlete, Bukaty quarterbacked the Steelers to the Niagara Frontier League Football championship in 1955 and he was a starting forward for the 1956-57 championship basketball team. He was named Most Valuable Player four different times by Lackawanna High School – football (1955 and 1956), basketball (1956-57) and golf (1957). He was also honored with the Dalessandro Award for Sportsmanship and Citizenship (1957), the G.A.A. Athlete of the Year for Scholarship and Athletics (1957) and the Limestone Club Athlete of the Year (1957). Gordie was the first to be inducted into the inaugural class of the Lackawanna High School Athletic Wall of Fame in 2011.

After graduating from Lackawanna, Bukaty attended the University at Buffalo where he played football from 1958-1960. He held passing records for career touchdowns (25) and touchdowns in a season (9). Bukaty was the quarterback of the renowned 1958 Lambert Cup winning team that declined to play in the Tangerine Bowl because of the stadium operator’s stance on segregation. He was inducted into the U/B Hall of Fame in 1969.

After graduation, Bukaty returned to the Steel City and served as an assistant coach and then head coach of the football team. He coached the Steelers to their first undefeated championship season in 1967. In his four years as head coach, Bukaty had a record of 27-4-1.

He was named athletic director in 1970, a role he held until 1986. In his leadership role, Bukaty coached and mentored many great athletes including Ron Jaworski, NFL star quarterback and broadcaster; Marty Januszkiewicz, Syracuse University hall of fame running back; and Bill Pukalo, Boston College hall of fame defensive end.

Gordie Bukaty succumbed to brain cancer and passed away in 1987, a few weeks short of his 48th birthday. Section VI honored him by naming “The Gordon Bukaty Memorial Award for Athletic Administrator of the Year.”