A rarity for our Hall of Fame inductees, Monty came to Bennett as a junior from Fairmont, CA. Monty played only two years of varsity basketball for the Tigers, but what a ride it was. The Tiger basketball teams in Monty’s brief two year career won 25 games in Yale Cup competition, and lost only 1. That winning steak of 25 games included an undefeated Yale Cup championship in 1995, and a Section VI, Class B1 title. The two year record in Section VI play was 6 wins and 1 loss. Monty, a power forward, is considered the best defensive forward in Coach Veronica’s 25 year tenure as Tiger coach. Along with his defensive and rebounding prowess, Monty managed to score 1 ,033 points over 44 games in his Bennett career. No wonder Monty was selected as 1st team All-High both years, 4th team AII-WNY as a junior, and 1st team ALL-WNY as a senior. Following his senior season, Monty played in the “Ace All Star ” contest for AII-WNY players, and was selected game “MVP” in this prestigious event. Monty went on to a stellar college basketball career locally at Daemen College.
Kim was a well-rounded student while at Bennett. She was a class officer, on the prom committee and stage crew among her many activities. Yet she still found time to be on an athletic team all three sport seasons, all four years at Bennett. Kim was named “Most Athletic Female” in her senior year. The fall sports season found Kim playing volleyball, where she was team captain and an “All-High” selection in her senior year. Her specialty skill was in “serving” the ball. During the winter season Kim was on the basketball squad for three years, and the swimming squad her senior year. There she qualified for the finals at the All-High swim trials. The spring season saw Kim playing her most proficient sport, softball. She was team “co-MVP” and an All-High selection, alternating between pitcher and shortstop positions. She once recorded 1 6 strikeouts in a game, and participated in a post season All Star game following her senior season.
After high school Kim attended Hilbert College, where she continued her athletic career playing volleyball and softball. Kim earned a BA and MA degree from Hilbert College in Elementary Education, and is presently a 3rd grade teacher in the Clarence School District. Kim is the mother of 4 boys.
Bert played football, basketball and track at Bennett in the mid 1 980’s. Bert’s best sport was football, although he was videotaped for college recruiting purposes, running a 4.9 second 40 yard dash and dunking a basketball. This is no small feat for a 6’3″, 285 lb. tackle/shotputter.
In football, Bert was a four year varsity player, All-High his junior and senior year, and second team all WNY his senior year. Bert led Bennett to the Harvard Cup in 1 985. He was then selected to play in the all-WNY Lions Club All-Star football game in the summer of ’86, and was presented the MVP award as the game’s outstanding player.
In track, Stevenson was a four year starter in the shot put, ran an occasional leg in a relay, and threw the discus in non-city meets. Bennett went undefeated in all four of his years in track and field, and to this day Bert still holds the city shot put record of 53’5″. Bert played varsity basketball in his junior and senior years, and was the starting center in his senior year.
After graduation from Bennett, Bert attended Kentucky State on a football scholarship. After one season he was recruited by Division I Temple University. His promising college career was cut short by a serious eye injury. However, he will always be remembered for the incredible agility and speed that he possessed for a man of his size.
Stevenson is currently employed as an administrator in the Buffalo school system.
Sean D. Waller, a 1986 graduate of Bennett High School, was a highly talented athlete in three sports throughout his high school career—-Football, Track and Field and Basketball. He received All High Awards in football in 1985 and in Track and Field in 1985 and 1986. Bennett was the Harvard Cup Champion in 1985 and won the Track and Field Scalp and Blade Championship from 1983-1986. In addition, Sean was named All-Metro in Football in the National Inner-City Youth Organization.
After graduation from Bennett, Sean first attended ECC in 1987 where he was named All Conference and All American in Track and Field in the one-mile relay. He then enrolled at Eastern Kentucky University where he played football for 3 years. The team won the Ohio Valley Conference Championship in 1988 and 1990.
Sean graduated from college in 1990 and, soon thereafter, joined the Buffalo Police Department. He remained with the department until 2003 when he was forced to retire after getting injured in the line of duty. At that time, Sean returned to his first love, football, and became a coach at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi in the Big Sky Conference in 2005 and 2006.
Sean, the father of 5 children and 2 grandchildren, currently lives with his family in Franklin, Tennessee, which is outside of Nashville. He is working in sales and owns a food truck called Chat-Chow Snack Wagon.
Sean is absolutely thrilled to receive this prestigious award. He remarked, “Life is made up of many seasons and I credit all my seasons of life at Bennett making me into the man I have become.”
Lothell T. J. Blackmon Jr. was an outstanding three sport athlete in the Buffalo Public Schools. T. J. stands in the unique position where he most certainly will be considered in two different high school Halls of Fame, Bennett and City Honors. T.J. is being honored today for his stellar 2-year career as quarterback for the Bennett Tigers football team during both the 1984 and ‘85 seasons.
The 1985 team was undefeated in 9 games and became Harvard Cup co-champions, and TJ was first team All- High. T.J. was the lynch pin in the Tigers revolutionary “run and shoot” passing offense, never before used in Harvard Cup competition. According to Coach “V”; the only thing that could stop T.J.’s passing attack, did. That came in the form of a huge snowstorm the night before and the morning of the 1985 Harvard Cup championship game. The game against Grover ended up in a 0 – 0 tie in very tough playing conditions.
Aside from T.J.’s football accomplishments, his other outstanding sports career in Buffalo was at City Honors High School. T.J. was a four-year star in basketball and baseball at City Honors, concurrent with his Bennett football career.
T.J. was a second team All-High in basketball in 1985 and ‘86 for the Section VI, class C champion City Honors team. In baseball for the Centaurs, he accomplished even more. T.J. was first team All-High in baseball in 1986 and named Buffalo “player of the year”. T.J. competed in the WNY high school all-star game at Pilot Field in 1986.
After high school, T.J. played basketball and baseball at Hilbert College where he was a Region 3 all-star. After Hilbert, T.J. attended Coastal Carolina College where he played baseball.
T.J.’s working career included 22 years as a Buffalo Fire Fighter. He and his wife Maria are proud parents of four children and two grandchildren.