NMU Legend Gene Summers honored during Saturday's game

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MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University Men's Basketball legend, Gene Summers, returned to campus as part of Gene Summers Appreciation Day during Saturday's contest with Saginaw Valley State University.

According to a press release from Northern, Summers was invited onto the court at halftime for a special ceremony where he received a commemorative basketball from NMU Athletic Director, Forrest Karr.  His former teammates, Tim Bullock, Bill Koski, Bob Pecotte, Duane Soine, and Conrad Yadginski, joined him on the court.

"It's a big honor for me and my family," he said. "The guys I played with, I haven't seen them in a while and it's always good to see them."

During his two-year career at NMU, he finished with 1,328 points. Averaging a single-season school record with 30.0 points a game his senior year, Summers holds the school's career record with 28.2 points per game. His school records of 273 made field goals during the 1965-66 season, and 22 baskets against Michigan Technological University still stand as well. His best game came when he scored 50 points against Michigan Tech, a school record at the time. 

A First Team All-American in 1965 and 1966, Summers was inducted into the NMU Sports Hall of Fame in 1977.  He is also just one of two men's basketball players to ever have their jersey retired at Northern Michigan. After the conclusion of his NMU career, he was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 NBA draft.  

The current team helped provide a positive atmosphere as they came away with an 86-69 victory over Saginaw Valley, a result Summers was pleased to see.  "It's a real thrill seeing Northern winning games," said Summers. "Last time I came up here they weren't winning, but today I feel like they've got it together. They're playing good basketball and Coach (Bill Sall) is doing a good job with them."

Coach Sall was happy to see an NMU basketball legend like Summers return to campus and be recognized. "It was an honor and a privilege to have Gene Summers back to Marquette," Sall said. "What he accomplished as a player for the NMU basketball program is awe-inspiring. As great of a student-athlete as Gene was during his time at Northern Michigan what truly separates him is his humble spirit and amazing heart."

Summers and the NMU Men's Basketball were joined by over 75 people as they concluded the event at a luncheon in his honor.  In a day enjoyed by many, Summers will remember the day fondly, "I love what Northern Michigan has done for me, I loved the win today and I love everything that's happened to me since I've been here."


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