- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 11, 2018

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (AP) - Former Siena athletic director Bill Kirsch, who guided the school’s jump to Division I basketball 42 years ago, has died. He was 86.

Kirsch passed away at his home in nearby Rensselaer on Sunday, the school announced. A cause of death was not given.

Kirsch, a star at Siena in baseball and basketball, coached at Russell Sage College and Sage Junior College of Albany before taking over at his alma mater. He served as both athletic director and head men’s basketball coach from 1972-82, finishing with a record of 142-111, and continued as athletic director until his retirement in 1992.

During his tenure, Kirsch presided over the construction of the on-campus Alumni Recreation Center (1974) and played an integral role in elevating Siena from Division II to the top tier in 1976. Siena became affiliated with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 1989, when the men’s basketball team made its first NCAA Tournament appearance and won its first tournament game.

As a player, Kirsch etched his name in Siena lore at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12, 1953, hitting a game-winning, 60-foot shot at the buzzer in a 56-54 win over Iona.

Kirsch, who coached two of his sons at Siena, is survived by his wife, Grace, four children, 16 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Steve.


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