Ivy 60 for 60: John Bajusz

Following our countdown of the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s men’s basketball history this summer, Ivy Hoops Online is delighted to continue celebrating the 60th anniversary of modern Ivy League basketball by honoring the top 60 players in Ivy hoops history (in no particular order). For the next entry in our Ivy 60 for 60 series, we focus on John Bajusz, one of the greatest players in Cornell basketball history… 

In the fall of September 1986, Philadelphia Inquirer writer Dan Rottenberg described his disappointment in then-first year Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, who refused to shake hands with opponents following games. When looking for the antidote to Ryan’s unprofessional behavior, Rottenberg remembered the actions of Cornell star John Bajusz.

In March 1986, the Big Red went down to the Palestra with a one game lead on Brown with two games remaining. Cornell’s star captain was blanketed by Penn defenders all evening, forcing him into extremely long outside shots. Although miraculously making nine of 12 shots and going 6-for-6 from the charity stripe, his team was down eight with a minute to go. After being removed from the game by coach Tom Miller, a disappointed Bajusz (pronounced BAY-us) refused to go to the bench until he ran to midcourt to warmly shake the hands of the three Quakers defenders and wave congratulations to the remaining two Penn players under the basket. Without a title, the 21-year-old Bajusz was more of a champion than a Super Bowl winning coach greater than twice his age.

Read moreIvy 60 for 60: John Bajusz

Who will be Cornell’s next head coach?

With the firing of Bill Courtney, Cornell will begin a national search for a new head men’s basketball coach.  Who might be targets for the Big Red search committee?  Can the past help decide the future?

Here is a list of the Cornell coaches from the last 40 years:
2010-11 through 2015-16: Bill Courtney (Graduate of Bucknell)
1st Head Coaching job
15 years as Division 1 Assistant and Associate Head Coach, including 8 seasons working under Jim Larranaga at George Mason
60-113 overall and 27-57 Ivy; No post-season appearances; Highest Ivy standing was 5th place
2000-01 through 2009-10: Steve Donahue (Ursinus)
1st Head Coaching job
12 years as college Assistant Coach, including 10 seasons working under Fran Dunphy at Penn
146-138 overall and 78-62 Ivy; 3 Ivy League titles; 3 post-season appearances, including a Sweet 16 run in 2009-10

Read moreWho will be Cornell’s next head coach?

Cornell all-time moment No. 8: Big Red's first modern Ivy League title

Cornell 1988 Picture
The 1987-88 Cornell Big Red.

 

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Cornell is next because nothing compares 2 Cornell.

Ivy League schools have been competing in basketball for a long time. Cornell, Columbia, Princeton, Yale and Harvard have met on the hardwood since 1901. Penn joined in 1903, Dartmouth in 1911, and finally, Brown in 1953. For the first 53 years, these school competed in what was known as the Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball League. Results were pretty even. Penn led all schools with 13 titles, followed by Columbia with 12, and Dartmouth with nine. Cornell won the league four times – in 1913, 1914, 1924, and 1954.

Official “Ivy League” competition begun in 1956, a year that also marked the start of Penn-Princeton dominance. From 1956 to 1987, the total number of Ivy League Basketball championships looked like this:

Read moreCornell all-time moment No. 8: Big Red's first modern Ivy League title