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Peacock’s NBA contract finds home in University Archives

The cover letter and a copy of the NBA contract offered by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1974 to UIU’s James Bushkofsky ’74 are pictured alongside a photo from the 1973 UIU Yearbook featuring former men’s basketball coach Bill Prochaska ’63 and Bushkofsky. Note: For a brief amount of time in the University’s history, the UIU uniforms bore the name of Upper Iowa College (UIC).

Located in the Henderson-Wilder Library at Fayette Campus, the Upper Iowa University Archives collects artifacts and documents, such as files, letters, maps, and photographs, relating to the University’s history in northeast Iowa, across the nation and around the world.

Among recent donations to the Archives is the contract offered by the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Cleveland Cavaliers to UIU’s James Bushkofsky ’74. The gift from Bushkofsky, which was shared at the request of his former UIU men’s basketball coach Bill Prochaska ’63, includes a cover letter from then Cavalier general manager and coach Bill Fitch and a copy of the contract.

Bushkofsky graduated from Upper Iowa in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree. An outstanding collegiate basketball and baseball player, the Elkader, Iowa, native set a state record in 1973 for most points in one game by an Iowa collegiate player with 62 points. He led the then Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC) for two consecutive years with 34.0 and 32.8 scoring averages. He was also the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics District 15 leader at 33.9 and 31.8, respectively, and was cited in the February 1973 issue of “Sports Illustrated.”

Selected as the IIAC Most Valuable Player in 1973 and 1974, Bushkofsky was honored as the recipient of the Clarkson Award in 1974, emblematic as the most outstanding collegiate player in Iowa that year. Bushkofsky finished as UIU’s career scoring leader with 2,194 total points. On the diamond, he excelled as a Peacock pitcher/outfielder, being selected to the All-Conference baseball team in 1974.

Drafted in the ninth round as the 147th pick by the Cavaliers in 1974, Bushkofsky was also invited to try out for the Pan American Games. Although declining both opportunities, he continued to excel on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) scene, being named the Most Valuable Player in both the AAU State of Iowa Basketball and Baseball Tournaments in 1977.

After retiring his #54 basketball uniform in 1974, UIU further recognized Bushkofsky by inducting him into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984.

Bushkofsky’s NBA contract is one of the many interesting artifacts available for all to see through the University Archives. To learn more about the University Archives, obtain information on making material or monetary donations, or to schedule a visit, contact UIU Archivist Janette Garcia at garciaj26@uiu.edu or 563-425-5722. Select materials are now digitized and made available online at uiu.edu/digitalarchives.

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