In a continuing celebration of the Hobart College basketball program’s 100th season, the 1955-56 Statesmen basketball team was honored as a Team of Distinction on Saturday, Feb. 6 in Bristol Gym, prior to the Liberty League contest featuring Hobart and Skidmore. The team holds the Hobart basketball record for highest winning percentage in a season, .750
The 1955-56 squad posted a 15-5 mark, including sweeps of Alfred University and current Liberty League rival Hamilton College. The Statesmen started the season by winning seven of their first eight contests, and wrapped the year riding a four-game winning streak.
The team was coached by Spike Garnish, and featured co-captains Stan Cohen ’56 and Len DeFrancesco ’56, as well as Hobart Hall of Fame inductees Art Lambert ’58 and Dr. Garry Mendez Jr. ’58. The1955-56 team’s seniors graduated with a four-year record of 48-23 (.676), the highest winning percentage for a graduating class in the history of the program.
In 2006, the Statesmen Athletic Association (SAA) Board of Directors instituted the recognition classification Teams of Distinction to pay tribute to Hobart College intercollegiate teams of the past for their outstanding achievements in their respective athletic arenas and for their contributions to the athletic legacy of Hobart College.
On Fri., Feb. 5 at 6:30 p.m., there was a reception in the Piltch Room honoring the 1955-56 team. On Sat., Feb. 6 at noon, the members of the ’55-56 team were presented with their Team of Distinction Awards during a luncheon in the Gilman Room. Both events are open to all SAA members.
Teams become eligible for Team of Distinction recognition 10 years after the completion of their season. Typically, a Team of Distinction has won a conference, regional or national championship; or been undefeated over the course of its season; or considered to be one of the “very best Hobart teams ever” in the respective sport; or has overcome exceptional challenges to be successful.
The photo above features Art Lambert ’58 and other members of the 1955-56 basketball team who were greeted by current Statesmen.