Jim Nowicki

Jim Nowicki

Jim Nowicki was born and raised on Buffalo’s east side and continues to live in his hometown.  He graduated from Bishop Ryan High School and then Bryant and Stratton Business College, before serving a stint in the U.S. Army. There he was active organizing sport and recreation activities for his fellow troops and played softball as well as officiating basketball.

Upon returning to Western New York, he started his career in the Buffalo Parks Department working at Schiller, Houghton and Cazenovia Parks by maintaining outdoor fields, organizing activities and learning to drive a Zamboni.

In 1968 he drove himself to Mexico City to partake and find a way into the Olympic Games. After securing entry he met Jesse Owens, George Foreman, Spencer Haywood and became quick friends with Hank Iba, the Head Coach of the USA Men’s Olympic Basketball Team. Iba was so impressed he invited Nowicki to sit on the bench for the Gold Medal Game!

Jimmy was appointed to be Director of City of Buffalo Recreation in 1994 by Mayor, and GBSHOF member, Anthony Masiello. They formed a lifelong friendship. Later Nowicki was promoted to Deputy Parks Commissioner.

Nowicki was the master organizer for City of Buffalo residents.  He is most known as the founder and race director of the Suburu 4 Mile Chase where he invited International, Olympic and World Record holders to compete annually on the streets of Buffalo.  This past July was the 40th anniversary of the prestigious event.

The Subaru is not the only major event Nowicki has volunteered to assist or direct. The list includes World University Games, Empire State Games, Buffalo to Niagara Falls International Marathon, NCAA Division I and II Cross Country Championships and the Buffalo-Olmstead Winterfest.

Jim has also been a basketball official for 50 + years and was basketball chair for World University Games in Buffalo. He serves on Buffalo’s PAL Board of Directors and assisted Tony and Kate Masiello with reinvigorating PAL for children in Buffalo.  He is in the WNY Softball and Running halls of fame.

This quote from former mayor Tony Masiello best describes Nowicki’s impact in the community. “Without Jim’s vision, tenacity and hard work, the Buffalo sports scene would not have come as far as it has over the past four decades.  Jim Nowicki has created a lasting legacy through the creation of marquee events, athletic venues and tournaments and by translating his love of sports into actions that have benefitted participating athletes and our community as a whole. “

The biographies contained on this website were written at the time of the honoree's induction into the Hall of Fame. No attempt has been made to update these narratives to reflect more recent events, activities, or statistics.