Harvey Austin* 2016

Athlete/ Coach

Emerson High School (Buffalo Public Schools)



Harvey Austin was born November 4, 1933 in Montgomery,  Alabama.  He graduated from Buffalo’s Emerson School of Hospitality  in 1952 and Purdue University with a Health, Physical Education, and Recreation degree in 1959.   He also acquired 20 hours towards a master’s degree from the University at Buffalo.

During Harvey’s time at Emerson, he participated in both basketball and track and field.  He was a Buffalo Evening News All-High selection in three straight seasons (1950-1952).  He led Emerson to the Yale Cup Championship in 1950 and 1951.  He established a league single-game scoring record (46 points) in 1951, and set Yale Cup Series standards with 320 points in 1951 and 325 points in 1952.  In 1952, with a jump of 6’6”, he won the high-jump title at the annual All-Vocational meet, just 1 1/8 inches short of the national high school record.  

After serving 3 years in the United States Army, Harvey attended Purdue University on a track scholarship.  He    participated in track and basketball all four years of college.

Harvey began coaching in 1963.  He coached basketball, track, and cross country at McKinley High School, East High School, and Hutchinson Central Technical High School.  Over the course of his coaching career, he produced impressive records of 174-108 in basketball including consecutive Yale Cups at East High in 1973 and 1974, 110-25 in track, and 115-47, with two city titles, in cross country.

What stands out above his athletic and career achievements however, was his selfless service and extreme generosity, which was illustrated by the 2,000+ Buffalonians who appeared in person to mourn his death.  Harvey found his greatest fulfillment as a father figure and role model to the students and the high school athletes he coached.  He also worked in various programs for the New York State Divisions of Youth, the Erie County  Department of Parks and Recreation, and the City of Buffalo.

In 1996, Harvey was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

In recognition for his accomplishments in teaching, coaching, and mentoring the youth of the community, Buffalo Public School #97 is named Harvey Austin Elementary School.

Harvey is survived by his wife Elizabeth; 3 sons, Mike, Steve, and Chris; and 2 daughters, Michelle and Jacquelyn.

To reiterate the 1988 Buffalo News headline, Harvey Austin can best be described as “A Class Act and All-Time Buffalo Great.”

* Posthumously awarded