WASHINGTON - The Gallaudet University athletics department is sad to announce the passing of Kevin Milligan (Class of 1967), a multi-sport standout and an Athletics Hall of Famer in both men’s basketball and soccer. Milligan passed away at the age of 79 on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 at Hospice Buffalo in Cheektowaga, N.Y.
Prior to coming to Gallaudet, Kevin attended St. Mary’s School for the Deaf where he attained numerous individual accolades such as Catholic High School Basketball All-American honors in 1955 as well as local Minsignor Martin Athletic Association All-Catholic status in 1954 and 1955 despite only playing two varsity seasons.
Upon entering Gallaudet as a student, he played four years of basketball from 1962 to 1967, amassing 1,681 points. When he graduated he was the all-time leading scorer in school history and now ranks fifth all-time. He was a two-time Mason-Dixon All-Conference basketball selection. Milligan also participated on the men’s soccer team, baseball and even cross-country during his time as a student on campus.
Milligan was inducted into Gallaudet Athletics Hall of Fame in 1995 and officially had his basketball jersey permanently retired on the walls of the Field House Gym on Feb. 8, 2014. To date, his jersey remains the lone retired number in GU men’s basketball program history.
After graduating from Gallaudet in 1967, he earned a masters’ degree in education from Lewis and Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., and taught at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf for 20 years while also continuing to be involved in numerous deaf organizations and causes.
Milligan also led U.S. teams to gold medals in basketball in the 1961 Deaf Olympics in Finland and the Pan American Games for the Deaf in Venezuela in 1975.
He was a member of the 1965 U.S. soccer team that competed in the Deaf Olympiad in Washington, D.C.
In 1981, he received a deaf athlete’s highest honor, induction into the American Athletic Association for the Deaf Hall of Fame.
In all, he was inducted into nine sports halls of fame, including the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
He was a board member for the Buffalo Club of the Deaf for many years.
Milligan is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Mildred "Millie" Velez; a son, Kevin Jr.; a daughter, Ella Dunne; three sisters, June Ryan, Sally Beacham and Evelyn; and four grandchildren.
The Buffalo News contributed to this article