: President's Message

Niagara Falls Red Raiders Basketball is proud to have been providing basketball programming to the youth in our city for the past twenty-five years. Youth basketball has evolved in Niagara Falls over these years. Niagara Falls Minor Basketball began in the 1940’s as a city church league. It ran as a church league for many years where players would just get together for a friendly game of basketball. The most notable player from that program was Jay Triano. Jay went on to be captain of the National Team for 11 years, National Coach for 8 years and is currently an Assistant Coach of the Charlotte Hornets. The church league was restructured into a house league program in 1985 as Niagara Falls Minor Basketball and was run under the leadership of Les Potapczyk. Notable players such as Greg Newton, Peter Guarasci, and Nikki Johnson once played in the program and all became members of the National Team.

With the growing interest of players wishing to play at a more competitive level, Tom Grubb in 1995 formed and coached the first midget girls travel team. In 1996 under the leadership of Bill Rootes and the founding Board of Directors, Bonnie Rootes, Ken Harris, Mike Waher, Judy Waher, Jerry Gibbs, Nancy MacDonald and Tom Grubb the Niagara Falls Red Raiders Basketball Association was formed.  

What started as a travel program comprised of eight travel teams twenty-five years ago, has grown to include three levels of programming. Our Novice program is the grassroots of the Red Raiders organization offering instructional basketball to our youngest participants. We currently have over 150 boys and girls participating in this developmental program.

The house league program which began as Niagara Falls Minor Basketball is now under the umbrella of Niagara Falls Red Raiders. This league is primarily sponsored by Young’s Insurance and there is excess of 300 players competing in this program. 

Our travel program has grown from the original 8 travel teams 10 years ago to 12 travel teams this year.

The philosophy of the Niagara Falls Red Raiders which is endorsed by the Board of Directors is to ensure that winning is viewed in it’s proper context as part of, but not entirely the only focus of the sport. Coaches are encouraged to improve the playing ability and confidence of their players. Coaches will foster an attitude of fair play, good sportsmanship, fairness, integrity and respect. It is the Niagara Falls Red Raider’s goal to provide a venue for the youth of Niagara Falls to play basketball. While many other communities are recruiting and drawing players from other cities, we are proud of the accomplishments of our travel teams that consist primarily of Niagara Falls players.

I would like to thank all of the schools in Niagara Falls, their custodial staff, and The Gate for allowing us the use of their facilities. Without their cooperation we would not have a venue for our players to practice or play in.

The success of any organization is solely dependent on the dedication and commitment of its volunteers. The Niagara Falls Red Raiders has been fortunate over the years to have had a motivated and dedicated group of volunteers. These volunteers include the many coaches who commit their time to work with our youth in the novice, house league and travel programs and the parents who run our canteens, score clocks or help with administrative duties. These people are the visible volunteers who help with the program. Working behind the scenes is our truly dedicated Board of Directors. The Board of Directors continue to work year round, putting in countless hours to ensure that we produce a quality program for the youth of our city. I would like to personally thank all of the Board members for their time and commitment to ensure the continued success of the Niagara Falls Red Raiders Basketball Association.

Yours in Basketball
Jamie Clarke

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