Donald J. Savage ’51 – Class of 1983
Putting Le Moyne on the Map…
In 1947 Le Moyne College was little more than a state of mind. The campus was a set of architect’s plans. Classrooms were converted offices, bedrooms and parlors in rented quarters. The Athletic Center was the most readily available basketball court.
It was clear that time would bring with it the physical plant required for a first-class college. But what was to be the spirit of that institution? What would be the dimensions of its pride?
The answer to these questions was made clear by a group of young men who, under the tutelage of Coach Tom Niland, became the first Dolphin basketball team: The spirit was boundless and the pride unlimited.
Donald J. Savage ’51 played a key role in giving substance to that spirit and pride. On December 4, 1947 he started in the Dolphin’s first intercollegiate contest, a 62-57 win over Utica College. By the time he graduated, he had amassed 1,660 points and the Dolphins were ranked among the nation’s top ten small colleges.
The measure of Dolphin spirit and pride was tested in the 1950-51 season, when Don Savage was captain. The team began by losing six of seven; but, powered by a thrilling 53-47 victory over their natural upstate rival, the Siena Indians, went on to win thirteen of their last fourteen games and earned a berth in the National Catholic Invitational Tournament.
In the pressure situation of Le Moyne’s first post-season
game, Captain Savage came through with 33 points to power the
Dolphins to a 95-67 demolition of St. Michaels of Vermont. The
Dolphins went on to defeat Siena in the quarter-finals, but lost to
St. Francis of Brooklyn in the semi-finals before beating St.
Mary’s of Maryland for third place.
The job of helping Le Moyne establish its athletic credentials complete, Don Savage set about establishing his own. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and starred for the Parris Island Marine basketball team from 1954 to 1956, earning a berth on the Syracuse N.B.A. squad with what one sportswriter termed “the best two-hand push shot in the business.”
His talents, however, have not been limited to the basketball court. A sociology major at Le Moyne, Don entered the insurance field and worked with Loyalty Group Insurance Company for ten years. He joined United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company in 1963 as a special agent. In 1965 he was advanced to agency superintendent and two years later became assistant manager of the Syracuse office. In 1971 Don was appointed associate manager of the company’s Northern New Jersey office and one year later he became its manager.
His expertise in his profession was recognized in 1976 with an appointment as director of the Institute of Insurance at Upsala College. He has served his alma mater as an active member of the alumni association; his profession as president of Insurance Manager’s Association of Northern New Jersey, a member of the New Jersey Conference Committee for the American Insurance Association and the Advisory Committee for the Insurance Services Office of the State of New Jersey; and his community as a C.Y.O. and Police Athletic League basketball coach and a member of the Managers’ Council of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.
A devoted husband, Don is married to a 1952 Le Moyne graduate, the former Jacqueline McGill, and is the proud father of Donald Jr., Joseph and Mary Anne.
A man who played a key role in putting Le Moyne athletics on the map and whose accomplishments after graduation are a source of pride to his alma mater, it is fitting that Donald J. Savage ’51 be inducted into the
Le Moyne Athletics Hall of Fame
April 16, 1983