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Vince Boryla

Inducted 1973


Vince Boryla attributes his basketball success to Doc Irwin, his coach at Washington High School in East Chicago, and he utilized that coaching in making the All-Northern Indians Conference team as a senior in high school.

After playing frosh ball at Notre Dame, Boryla spent four months at the U.S. Naval Academy before returning to Notre Dame. With the Irish in the 1945-46 season, Boryla sparked the team to fifteen straight wins before enlisting in the Army.

After various assignments, he was transferred to Lowry, where he was able to play on the Denver Nuggets team together with the late, great stars Ace Gruenig and Jack McCracken. He was an AAU All-American in both 1947 and 1948, and he starred on the U.S. Olympic Team in the London Games in 1948. In 1948, he enrolled at the University of Denver and became the nation’s fourth leading scorer and a unanimous All-American.

He passed up his senior year to turn pro with the New York Knicks, where in a five-year career, he was a star forward-center and team captain. During that time, he received his degree from the University of Denver.

Boryla then retired to go into the real estate business in Denver, but agreed to coach the Denver Central Bankers AAU team in 1954-55. Then, it was back to New York as coach of the Knicks for two years, after which Boryla served as general manager and chief scout for two more years.

Later, as a businessman in Denver, Boryla was involved in landing an American Basketball Association franchise for Denver in 1967. While serving as general manager for a group of California men who owned the team, he made Denver’s first pro draft before bowing out in a dispute over inadequate financial backing for the team by its owners.

Boryla, a shrewd businessman and sports enthusiast, met a kindred soul in Denver’s Bill Daniels in 1969, and they joined forces in organizing an amateur boxing league and establishing the Denver Rocks boxing team. In 1970, Boryla engineered the deal through which Daniels bought the floundering Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and moved the cage franchise to Salt Lake City, with Boryla serving as general manager and club president.

The Stars capped a Cinderella story the following season by winning the ABA championship playoffs.

Boryla no longer has any professional involvement in sports. He has been living in Colorado, since returning from his basketball adventure with the Utah Stars. He keeps busy with his real estate investments and racquetball.

The immediate members of Boryla’s family include his wife, Cappie; daughter, Karen; and four sons, Mike, Mark, Matt and Vincent. Mike, heir to his father’s athletic abilities, lettered in football for three years at Stanford and was the starting quarterback his junior and senior years. He later played professional ball for three years with Philadelphia and subsequently became a free agent and signed with Tampa Bay. Plagued with injuries, he retired from professional football to pursue a law degree. His dad has been quoted saying, “if an athlete thinks his glory days in sports will never end, he is fooling himself. If he clutches onto them for all of his days, it is the biggest mistake he can make.”

Boryla feels very fortunate to have been inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. “They have been very selective in presenting awards to people they feel worthy. When you are honored in the state where you have grown up and resided for so long, it is indeed a great honor.”

Vince Boryla

This way of doing things has been perhaps my biggest asset…people know where I stand.