Griff News


Alumnus fulfills lifelong dream

When Ken Rozek ᾿72 suited up as Petey for the Canisius men’s basketball game versus Siena on February 8, his excitement was palpable. It was the culmination of a lifelong dream.  That’s because Golden Griffin men’s basketball is a family legacy for Rozek.

“I have countless fond memories of games at the old Aud (Buffalo Memorial Auditorium),” says Rozek, whose late uncle, Edward Rozek ᾿37, MD, served as the team doctor during the early 1950s until the late 1960s.  Ken’s father, Sylvester Rozek, kept score for the team from 1959-1968.

“I was very comfortable sitting at the press table with dad, Uncle Ed and Charlie Bailey, the voice of the Griffs,” says Rozek. “In sixth grade, I took over as scorekeeper, a job I held until I enrolled at Canisius.”

As a student, Rozek made the smooth transition to fan and was a regular among the bleacher ranks during his college years. Because Rozek had the reputation of being a “super fan,” his friends encouraged him to step up and wear the half-eagle, half lion suit during games.   Too shy at the time, Rozek says he always regretted not taking on the role.

Fast forward more than 45 years later.  It was during Christmas break that Rozek, a long-time season ticket holder, realized that there were no students around to don the Petey suit during the December games.

“I half-jokingly told John Maddock (associate director of athletics for external affairs) that I would be Petey,” says Rozek. “He took me seriously and after some careful thought, we made plans for a game.”

Rozek says the experience was incredible, once he overcame his stage fright!

“It was amazing to interact with parents and take photos with students,” he says. “It was a wonderful day, and something I will always cherish.”  

And, Rozek cheered on the Griffs to beat Siena 89-65! 

Rozek previously served as president of the Cage Club and is a former member of the Intercollegiate Athletic Board. 

Watch a short video clip here.  

See more pictures of Rozek as Petey here.

Canisius News