Already Humble, Cousy Overwhelmed By Statue Plans

Worcester, MA - Bob Cousy admits that he used to tease his old coach and friend Arnold "Red" Auerbach about his statue in Fanuiel Hall being a target for pigeons.

Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy, class of 1950, was humbled that Holy Cross has commissioned a statue of his likeness to sit outside their Hart Recreation Center, to be unveiled next summer.
Peter Stringer/Celtics

"I used to kid Arnold frequently that the pigeons loved him in Boston," Cousy said.

Well, what goes around comes around.

Next summer, the birds will have a new mark in Worcester, as Cousy himself will be immortalized at his alma mater, Holy Cross. Not one to toot his own horn, Cousy admitted that he required a little arm-wringing to agree to the honor, first conceived by the college about two years ago.

Even after agreeing to the statue, he was hesitant to appear at Friday's announcement.

"It's going to be a little strange and bizarre I think," Cousy said, "I talked to Father [John] Brooks and Father [Earle] Markey and I told them, 'Guys, I'm going to be really uncomfortable.' Finally, my dear friend Andy Laska said, 'C'mon, you've got to show up.'"

Understated as always, Cousy arrived early for the luncheon and conducted a few quick interviews before being feted by old friends, colleagues and college representatives who helped commission Cousy's bronzing. Also in attendance were his former Celtics teammate Bill Sharman and former Crusaders coach George Blaney.

A Holy Cross (Class of 1950) and Boston Celtics legend known to fans as the "Houdini of the Hardwood" for his flashy ways on the parquet, he's also known to be something of a regular at the school's Hart Recreation Center; he's often seen working out alongside students 50 years his junior. But now he'll literally be a fixture at the complex. The school has commissioned the bronzing of a statue that will stand outside the facility, with the unveiling scheduled for next June.

While he joked that he thought he had to be dead to be worthy of a statue, the Cooz was clearly touched, saying the honor was "overwhelming and surreal." In fact, while the spotlight was clearly on him, the ever-humble Cousy chose to instead deflect the glory and spent most of his time recounting the achievements of other Holy Cross athletes of the past. Long a champion of social justice and equality, Cousy also expressed his desire to be joined in Holy Cross lore by some other special athletes in the future.

"It is my hope in the not-too-distant future that I would be flanked by a prominent Holy Cross sports lady on my left and a distinguished minority athlete on my right," Cousy said.

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