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Joe Pukach

Basketball ∙ Aliquippa

 

 

 

 

Joe Pukach may have been small in stature for a basketball player at 5'-4" but his play earned him big time respect, being regarded as one of the best players in the history of Davis and Elkins College. Joe was known as a brilliant floor leader, with a penchant for knocking down long range set shots from as far as center court. Before he was done at Davis and Elkins, Joe had accumulated such nicknames as “The Mighty Atom,” “The Elusive Elf,” and “A Human Dynamo.” Joe began his career at Aliquippa and graduated in 1943. After serving in World War II, Joe accepted a scholarship to Davis and Elkins, where Press Maravich was an assistant coach and recruited Joe and two other Aliquippans to play for the Senators. An exceptional student, Joe graduated in just three years with honors, but still managed to leave his mark on the hardwood. A starter from the beginning, Joe helped the Senators to the state playoffs in each of his first two seasons. As a senior, Joe was co-captain and led the Senators to a 29-5 record, the best ever at the school, and to a state tournament title, with Joe named to the All Tournament team. In the national NAIA tournament that followed, Joe again earned All Tournament honors and All American honors for his senior year. Joe was named to the Davis and Elkins Team of the Decade for the 1950s and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1980 he was inducted into the Aliquippa Sports Hall of Fame. Joe retired from teaching at Aliquippa in 1982 after assisting in basketball for several years and also serving as the school’s athletic director.