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Men’s Basketball Coach Honored by the Urban League

Men’s Basketball Coach Honored by the Urban League

Posted: December 5, 2011

Fajri Ansari, head varsity basketball coach at Buffalo State, has helped shape young lives, both as a coach and as a leader in the interfaith community, for decades.

The Buffalo Urban League recently recognized Ansari’s contributions, along with those of his wife, Lavonne, by presenting the couple with the Family Life Award during the league’s 2011 Gala held November 19 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

The award is given annually to recognize an outstanding family who serves as role models for others and has raised their children with values that are carried on for generations, according Urban League CEO and President Brenda McDuffie.

Ansari has worked for Buffalo State for 30 years, the last seven as head coach for the Bengals Basketball team. Soon after stepping into coaching, Ansari began to build a championship program. Last season the Bengals won the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship and advanced to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

But just as importantly, he has worked to ensure his players graduate.

Ansari started his career at the beginning of a student’s college life. He worked in the Admissions Office recruiting students and ensuring that less fortunate students have access to higher education through the college’s Equal Opportunity Program. During that time, he coached boys’ basketball at Turner Carroll High School and served as director of Camp Achieve, which provides SAT prep work, life skills training and basketball coaching to area youth.

Ansari has served as past president and board member of the Network of Religious Communities, the largest interdenominational organization in Western New York. Through that organization, he has worked with neighborhood block clubs to reach out to youth on the city’s East Side, including building a new playground and basketball court.

LaVonne Ansari, who earned her master’s degree from Buffalo State and a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, serves as CEO and executive director of the Community Health Center of Buffalo Inc. She is best known for her advocacy work in health, education, and human rights. The Ansaris have three children, two of whom graduated from Buffalo State.

 “The Ansari family not only shares their love for family with their natural family,” McDuffie said, “but continues to extend their care, commitment, and concern to people in this community and beyond.”

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