Buck Briggs ’76 – Lou Conti Lifetime Achievement Award
By Jim Hanchett '53 | Big Red Historian
Buck Briggs will receive the “Lou Conti Lifetime Achievement Award” at this year’s annual CFA Golf Outing (July 30th). I received this terrific article from CFA Historian Jim Hanchett who asked me to pass it along to you. We are more than appreciative for Buck’s continued presence, leadership and generosity over the years!
Click here to register for the special event on July 30th. (Please select the “Non-Golfer Meal Package” when registering.)
CFA Golfers to Hail Auctioneer Buck Briggs ’76
By Jim Hanchett ’53 | CFA Historian
For lo, these many moons, CFA has tapered on to an imminent season of football with a midsummer golf gathering, gracious dining and an auction that may take someone to Super Sunday and helps defray the overhead. During those years, a notable of the C.U. football family has received CFA’s Lou Conti ’41 Lifetime Achievement Award, usually on weekend of the last home game of the year. This year, auctioneer, William Buckley (Buck) Briggs Jr. ’76 will be honored with the Conti Award at the Ben Mintz/CFA Golf Outing July 29-30.
Mintz, C.U.’s longtime sports information director, gathered working press to Ithaca in the summer for golf and an introduction to that year’s Redmen. Conti, an outstanding guard on the 1939 Big Red, widely considered the nation’s number one team, coached Lefty James’ great teams of the Forties and Fifties and flew in World War II and Korea combat.
Buck, National Football League vice president for arbitration and litigation, adjunct professor of law at Cornell and lecturer at Penn law and elsewhere is color analyst for Cornell football games with play-by-play partner Barry Leonard. As CFA golf outing auctioneer, he partners with Ed Marinaro. Their wit and wisdom makes for lively evenings.
Barry recalled that the first time they were paired on the air he ”wondered” how it would work but that they blended almost seamlessly for 14 years… Buck is an encyclopedia of Cornell football lore and U.S. history who presented a different dimension with recall of events from years ago, with flair.” The color man was sidelined last year by a nasty rare blood plasma disease he continues to battle with grueling treatment and astounding courage.
Early in his sports law years, Buck mostly represented players. He allows as how he fondly recalls extracurricular social activities surrounding the John Riggins vs. Redskins contract dispute. He also finds unforgettable an interview early in his days as WVBR sports director. He asked incoming Cornell coach George Seifert for a coachly outlook of the forthcoming 1975 Ivy League season. Well, the coach replied, the League looked pretty even. Later, he resented (loudly) Buck’s intimation that Cornell would be a contender. (It went 1-8). In his two years at C.U., Seifert’s teams won three games. In later years, his San Francisco Forty-Niners won two Super Bowls.
Buck gives high honors to great Redmen he saw on the Hill. Like Big Ed Marinaro, Gary Wood, Derrick Harmon, who ground out 3,074 yards between 1981-83, ran for 26 TDs and made two TS receptions. Chad Levitt (1993-96) pounded out just 58 career yards less than Ed’s Cornell record 4,715 yards. Among pass catchers, he finds the highly athletically skilled Bryan Walters’ hands “velvet-like.” He “never drops the ball,” Coach Dave Archer’s O-Line partner Kevin Boothe earned two Super Bowl rings with the Giants. Levitt’s teammate Seth Payne was a standout NFL DE for a decade.
A Big Red rooter since pre-Cornell days down the road in Endicott. That’s Archer’s home town, too. (By the way, he was to become Buck’s brother in Phi Kappa Psi.) Buck now dwells far above the East River’s waters in the heart of Manhattan. There’s a second home far above the waves of blue. There he preserves the ambience of Collegetown’s Royal Palm after obtaining quite a bit of its furniture. He was a founding father of CFA, appointed by Mark Allen to its first board and definitely active ever after.
CFA chair Marty Rauch says “Buck understands the game and its players. He’s a delightfully flamboyant auctioneer but in his quiet, methodical way he’s a generally solid, nice, guy.” As for his best Cornell day, Buck cites the day after graduation ’76 when “Cornellians piled into assorted vehicles to Providence and saw Cornell win an NCAA lacrosse title.” He says that day is in place awaiting the day Cornell wins its first sole Ivy League championship.”