SYRACUSE, N.Y. (SYRACUSE ATHLETICS) –
A national championship coach who earned a Purple Heart during World War II and a Hall of Fame student-athlete who went on to civic leadership as the mayor of Detroit will be honored in Syracuse University’s Ring of Honor in the JMA Wireless Dome in 2023-24. Floyd “Ben” Schwartzwalder and Dave Bing will join Jim Boeheim, Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Roy Simmons Jr. and Dwayne “Pearl” Washington in the elite group this coming year. Established in 2020, the “Ring of Honor” is an honor bestowed upon individuals named as one of Syracuse University’s most outstanding student-athletes or coaches to compete and/or coach their associated collegiate sport. This honor enshrines an individual within the JMA Wireless Dome by permanently displaying an honoree’s name on the inner most façade.
Schwartzwalder will be honored on Saturday, Sept. 23 when the Orange football team hosts Army, while Bing will be recognized during an Atlantic Coast Conference game during the men’s basketball season (the date will be determined once the schedule is confirmed).
Ben Schwartzwalder (Head Coach, 1949 to 1973)
Hall of Fame coach Floyd “Ben” Schwartzwalder led the Syracuse football program for 25 years, guiding the University to unprecedented heights on the gridiron. Under his watch, the Orange reached the pinnacle of college football, claiming the 1959 National Championship, and produced some of the greatest players in the history of the sport – most notably a stable of running backs in Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd Little, who donned the legendary 44 number that is a symbol of greatness at Syracuse and around college football.
A native of West Virginia, Schwartzwalder played three seasons (1931-33) on the offensive line for the Mountaineers, where earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education and a master’s degree in education. Following graduation, he started his coaching career as a high school coach for seven years before he became a member of the famed 82nd Airborne division of the U.S. Army and fought in World War II.
Schwartzwalder was a paratrooper who parachuted onto Normandy Beach on D-Day. He was among the first wave of soldiers that jumped in 1944. Dropped far behind enemy lines and miles off target, Schwartzwalder, a Captain in Company G of the 507th, organized his men, established command, and a week later delivered a large group of prisoners to the Allied lines. He rose to the rank of major and was awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, four battle stars and a Presidential Unit citation for his distinguished service. He retired as a lieutenant colonel.
After the war, he returned to coaching, securing his first collegiate head coaching job at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In three seasons he guided the Mules to a 25-5 record.
In 1949, he became the head football coach at Syracuse, a position held for the next 25 seasons. His Orange teams boasted a 153-91-3 record, produced 22-straight seasons without a losing record and finished in the top-15 of the final polls in eight of his seasons. It was the 1959 team that finished atop the polls is his most legendary season. Cemented by a 23-14 win over Texas in the Cotton Bowl to finish undefeated, Schwartzwalder’s Orange claimed the only National Championship in program history. Two years later, his squad produced the lone Heisman Trophy winner in school history when Ernie Davis hoisted the trophy.
Schwartzwalder was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. His mark is still felt on the program today. Beginning in 1993, the Schwartzwalder Trophy was presented to the winner of what was an annual football game vs. West Virginia. The program also still hands out an annual award in his honor, given to an exemplary football player whose leadership skills and on-field production embody the hard-nosed approach of the program.
Schwartzwalder passed away in 1993 and is buried in the Onondaga County Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
Dave Bing (1962-1966)
The arrival of Dave Bing on Syracuse’s campus in the fall of 1962 ignited a resurgence for the men’s basketball program. Word of Bing’s talent spread quickly on the Hill and soon the freshman games were outdrawing the varsity contests. In 1963-64, his first campaign with the varsity, Bing helped the Orange to a 17-8 record and a berth in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).
As a senior, Bing led Syracuse to its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1956-57. He keyed a lineup that combined to average a school record 99.0 points per game. The Orange defeated Davidson in a first-round NCAA matchup before losing at second-ranked Duke, 91-81. Coach Fred Lewis directed Syracuse to a 22-6 mark and Bing averaged 28.4 points an outing. Bing earned consensus All-America honors.
The NBA’s Detroit Pistons made Bing the second overall pick in the 1966 draft. He was the 1967 NBA Rookie of the Year and eventually played 12 seasons and scored more than 18,000 points in his career.
He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1990. Six years later, in 1996, Bing was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. The NBA 75th Anniversary team, selected in 2021, also featured Bing. Both Syracuse University and the Detroit Pistons retired Bing’s jerseys.
His success was not limited to basketball. After retiring from the NBA, he opened Bing Steel and in 1984 he was awarded the National Minority Small Business Person of the Year by President Ronald Reagan. His company grew into the Bing Group. He won Detroit’s mayoral special election in 2009 and finished out the term of the former mayor. Bing was re-elected to a full term, which he completed in 2013.
Bing, who published his autobiography, “Attacking the Rim,” in 2020, is the CEO of the Bing Youth Institute and BINGO mentoring program. He founded the organization to provide young African American boys with a strong support system. The BINGO (Boys Inspired through Nurturing, Growth and Opportunities) one-on-one mentoring program aims to transform young boys into responsible young men full of passion, purpose and perseverance.