Kevin Milligan

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Deaf Olympics Basketball Gold Medalist

A product of the South Buffalo playgrounds and St. Mary’s School for the Deaf, Kevin Milligan parlayed his endurance and versatility into outstanding careers in soccer and basketball, at a level of performance matched by few amateur athletes in Buffalo’s history.

Milligan attracted national attention as a hardwood standout at St. Mary’s, garnering Catholic High School Basketball All-American honors in 1955 to complement his local Monsignor Martin Athletic Association All-Catholic status in both 1954 and 1955. Kevin’s 700 points paced St. Mary’s to consecutive Eastern States Schools for the Deaf Athletic Association titles. His basketball accomplishments at St. Mary’s are remarkable, considering that illness limited him to two varsity seasons. Milligan’s fondest memories of that time are two victories over St. Joe’s in 1954-55 in the midst of a stunning 19-2 season against the strong Burke League competition.

Kevin enrolled at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., and added four more years of basketball exploits to his resume. Milligan’s 1,681 points (22.4 per game) made him the leading scorer in school history. The feat was punctuated by four games with 40 or more points and one with a school record 47 points. A two-time Mason-Dixon All-Conference basketball selection, Kevin was a multi-sport threat at Gallaudet, also excelling in soccer for three years, baseball for two and even suffering through a season of cross-country (to hone his endurance for basketball). Milligan is a member of the Gallaudet Hall of Fame, and had his jersey number 24 retired by the school.

Milligan plied his basketball and soccer skills on the international stage, leading the U.S. team to basketball gold in the 1961 Deaf Olympics in Finland. He also paced the U.S. to gold in the Pan American Games for the Deaf in Venezuela, and was a member of the 1965 U.S. soccer team that competed in Deaf Olympiad in Washington.

In 1982, Kevin was inducted into the American Athletic Association for the Deaf Hall of Fame, the highest honor a deaf athlete can achieve. Milligan is a member of a remarkable nine sports halls of fame, but considers tonight’s induction into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, in the presence of family, friends, and admirers, his most significant achievement and greatest honor. Through his 13 years as a teacher at St. Mary’s and his involvement in deaf organizations and causes, Kevin has given back to his community, and with this induction, the community gratefully reciprocates.