St. Francis College Brooklyn Retired Men’s Basketball Legend Al Inniss’ Jersey Number
St. Francis College retired basketball stand-out Al Inniss’ No. 19 during a halftime ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2020, when the Terriers hosted Sacred Heart University.
Inniss became just the second member of the men’s basketball program to have his jersey number retired as he joined fellow legend Dennis McDermott.
“We are extremely proud to announce that we will be retiring Al Inniss’ jersey on February 1. Al is a true legend as he achieved a great deal of success as a student-athlete at St. Francis and is most deserving of this prestigious honor. We are looking forward to cementing Al’s legacy at St. Francis and cannot wait to celebrate this special day with him and his family,” said Irma Garcia, SFC Athletic Director, in a statement preceding the event.
Inniss is one of the most decorated players to ever suit up for the Terriers and was inducted into the St. Francis Athletics Hall of Fame in 1968. He finished his career as the Terriers’ all-time leading scorer with 1,503 points. Inniss held the all-time scoring record through 1974 and is currently sixth on St. Francis’ scoring list. He was the team’s leading scorer in both the 1956–57 and 1957–58 seasons as he averaged 18.4 points per game in both campaigns. Additionally, he is the Terriers’ all-time leading rebounder with 1,667 career rebounds.
“I am too young to have seen Al play, but I have heard many great stories about him. Looking at his statistics and the things he accomplished, we are extremely honored and proud to be able to recognize him, and have his family be a part of retiring his jersey,” said Terriers’ Head Coach Glenn Braica.
Inniss was a part of one of the most successful teams in program history during the 1955–56 season. The Terriers posted a (21–4) record and at one point, rattled off 18-straight wins en route to a berth into the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). During the 1956 NIT, the center established the St. Francis and Madison Square Garden record for most rebounds in a single-game with 37 in a first round victory over Lafayette on March 17, 1956.
The Terriers went on to upset Niagara University, 74–72, in the NIT quarterfinals before falling to the University of Dayton in the Tournament semifinals. The NIT semifinal appearance was the furthest that the team ever advanced in the Tournament in program history.
Inniss is the only Terrier that is a three-time All-Metropolitan Basketball Writers’ Association selection. He earned All-Met honors following the 1955–56, 1956–57, and 1957–58 seasons. Additionally, he was a tri-captain during his senior season in 1957–58 alongside Anthony D’Elia and Lester Yellin.
Following his collegiate playing career, Inniss was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers with the first pick in the sixth round of the 1958 National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft. Inniss continued his playing career in Pesaro, Italy, where he competed on the Adriatic Coast and was one of his league’s highest scorers.
When he returned to the United States, he worked in the NYC Civil Service as an Assistant Accountant before being promoted to Assistant Controller in the Health and Hospital affiliate. Inniss worked in Washington for the federal government and spent 20 years domestically and internationally as a Financial Officer before retiring.
He was married to his wife for 20 years before she passed away in 2014 and has two stepdaughters and a stepson. Inniss has five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He graduated from St. Francis with a degree in Accounting in 1958 and earned the Franciscan Spirit Award during his time at the College.
Inniss will also be presented with the first annual Levi Bough Trailblazer Award. On November 21, the St. Francis Athletic department announced that the first men’s basketball game in February will always be celebrated as the Levi Bough game.
Bough was a trailblazing Terrier as he broke the color barrier at St. Francis, becoming the first African American to play on the men’s basketball team in 1947. In his honor, St. Francis established the Levi Bough Trailblazer Award, which will be bestowed on an individual who has made an impact on or around the St. Francis community.