NIAGARA UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS
WEST SENECA, N.Y. — Niagara University head softball coach Larry Puzan will be enshrined as a member of the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame on Saturday, Sept. 29. Puzan – who has helmed the program for the past five seasons – will be honored for a career as a player, coach and administrator that goes back nearly four decades.
“I’m humbled and honored to be inducted into the Western New York Softball Hall of Fame,” said Puzan. “I have been blessed with countless friendships and experiences through the sport of fastpitch softball.”
Puzan was named the team’s head coach ahead of the 2014 season after taking over as interim head coach in 2013. He ranks second all-time in school history with 67 wins. Before becoming the team’s head coach, Puzan was brought onto the staff as an assistant in 1996 and remained in that role for the next 14 seasons.
“Larry Puzan has meant so much to the local sports community for decades,” said Simon Gray, Niagara University Director of Athletics. “While he has contributed in several capacities across this region, his time at Niagara has directly impacted hundreds of softball student-athletes. Having been a long-time assistant coach and now our head coach, Larry defines this era of Purple Eagles Softball. All of us at the university congratulate him for this well-deserved honor.”
As a pitcher, Puzan has been able to use his knowledge of the game to mentor Niagara pitchers over the years, including every pitcher in the school’s top five for victories – Joni Sontrop (40), Tiffany McCrory (37), Julie DiMatteo (35), Brooke Viola (30) and Sierra Bertrand (24). Sontrop was a member of the 1998 MAAC Championship team, the only team in program history to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
“On behalf of the Niagara University softball student-athletes, I would like to congratulate Coach Puzan on his upcoming Hall of Fame Induction,” said senior Jennifer Timm. “He has been an ambassador for the game of softball in Western New York for several decades and this honor is well deserved. One of the reasons why I chose to attend Niagara University was because of Coach Puzan and I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Purple Eagle.”
In his career, Puzan has played for more than 31 teams, based primarily in Western New York. He has competed regularly in national competitions, including a second-place finish in the 2003 American Softball Association National Tournament and a third-place finish two years prior. During the 2001 tourney, Puzan posted a 5-0 record, and helped the team to a 7-2 overall mark. He was named to the 2000 American Softball Association All-Tournament Team, 2002 National Softball Association All-Tournament Team, 2012 North American Fastpitch Association Masters All-Tournament and is a two-time league MVP.
The 2018 class will be the 41st to be enshrined since the WNY Softball Hall of Fame was established. It was organized in 1965 and currently boasts more than 800 honorees.