Golden Griffins



Golden Griffins Highlights

General Team Information:

NCAA Division: Division I
Conference: Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference
Past Conferences: Western New York Little Three Conference, Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference North, North Atlantic Conference
City: Buffalo, New York
Arena: Koessler Center
NCAA Tournaments: 4 (1955, 1956, 1957, 1996)
~National Championships: 0
~Conference Titles: 9 (1947, 1950, 1952, 1956, 1957, 1985, 1994, 1996, 2018)

Team History

Canisius College has been in existence since 1870, and the school’s basketball team took to the courts for the first time in the 1903-04 season, posting a 9-2 record. Canisius was classified as an independent until it joined St. Bonaventure and Niagara in the Western New York Little Three Conference for the 1946-47 season. The conference disbanded following the 1957-58 season, and Canisius was again an independent.

Canisius joined the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference North for the 1979-80 season and played in the North Atlantic Conference for the 1988-89 season. The Golden Griffins joined the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference before the start of the 1989-90 season.

Canisius’ best years were in the 1950s, when the team played in the NCAA Tournament in 1955, 1956, and 1957, winning two games in each tournament. Canisius last played in the NCAA Tournament in 1996. Canisius has played in the NIT on five occasions, falling in the third-place game in 1995, which was their last appearance. The Golden Griffins have made four appearances in the CIT and played in the CBI in 2018.

All-Time Records

Points Scored

  • Ray Hall, 2,226
  • Michael Meeks, 1,827
  • Craig Wise, 1,799


  • Hank Nowak, 880
  • Darren Fenn, 852
  • Michael Meeks, 838


  • Malik Johnson, 644
  • Frank Turner, 616
  • Javone Moore, 550

Canisius Golden Griffins FAQs

Have Any Canisius Players Made the NBA?

The Golden Griffins have had 11 players play in the NBA, including two who won NBA titles. Johnny McCarthy won a title playing with the Boston Celtics in the 1963-64 season, in which he became the first player to ever record a triple-double in his playoff debut. He was later joined by Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Luka Doncic as the only players to accomplish the feat. Mike Smrek played on the Los Angeles Laker championship teams in 1986-87 and 1987-88.

When Did Canisius Get the Golden Griffins Nickname?

Canisius became known as the Golden Griffins in 1932, the name chosen to pay tribute to explorer La Salle’s ill-fated ship Le Griffon, which sank in 1679. The Golden Griffin mascot was given the name “Petey” in 2002, named after the school’s namesake, St. Peter Canisius.

Has Canisius Had Any All-Americans?

Larry Fogle was named to the All-American team for the 1973-74 season, after leading the Canisius team stats with 33.4 points per game, to go along with 14.0 rebounds per contest. He shot 54.2% from the field that season and 77.2% from the foul line.

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