NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - It is usually understood that becoming a Marine translates to success in life. Richie Guerin, a former Marine and NBA player, took this concept to a whole new level.
Guerin, an Iona College Goal Club, Marine Corps Sports, and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, was honored by Iona College Jan. 31 by having his college jersey retired.
Joseph E. Nyre, the college president, James P. Hynes, the chairman of the Iona College Board of Trustees, and Rick Cole, the director of athletics, presented Guerin with a commemorative framed jersey complete with his number 14 and a plaque that recognizes his Hall of Fame accomplishments.
Guerin is the first alumni from Iona to receive such honors.
A color guard comprised of Marines from the 1st Marine Corps District presented the colors. Recruiters from Recruiting Station Albany also attended the ceremony to honor Guerin’s achievements.
“It’s important to us as Marines to show our veterans that we care about them,” said Staff Sgt. Kelly R. Brodmerkel, a canvassing recruiter from Recruiting Substation Worchester, RS Albany. “It’s so motivating to see a Marine achieve so much.”
Guerin, who grew up in the Bronx in New York City, joined the Marine Corps Reserves in 1947 at the age of 15. In 1950, while serving as a reservist, he enrolled in Iona College. Upon graduation he was commissioned as a second lieutenant.
“I came close to becoming a career Marine,” said Guerin. “I told my commanding officer I wanted to give professional ball a shot and if that didn’t work out I’d reenlist.”
Guerin played with the New York Knicks from 1956 to 1963 and was a player-coach of the St. Louis and Atlanta Hawks franchise for nine years.
“There’s not a doubt in my mind that the Marine Corps played a major role in my success,” said Guerin.