No one may ever know how many young athletes received a college education because of Brian Vickers.
The former Babylon High School basketball star who graduated in 1978 and played for legendary coach Jim Valvano at Iona College, tried to help others benefit from the game by creating highlight films for hundreds of athletes across Long Island.
“That was his life’s work,” said his brother William. “He used that part of his career to benefit kids looking for scholarships.”
Brian Vickers died Jan. 29 of heart failure in Roosevelt at 58.
Vickers worked as a real estate appraiser on Long Island, a sales representative for Philip Morris and line supervisor at Estee Lauder in Melville, but basketball — and helping others — remained the constants in his life.
“He had nieces that played ball and he needed to get their story out, so it started with local Babylon kids,” William Vickers said. “I know he did a bunch of work for North Babylon and through word of mouth it spread.”
It spread to the point at which Vickers was creating hundreds of videos that helped generate college scholarship opportunities for boys and girls who might have otherwise gone unnoticed.
When more people became intrigued by his video skills, Vickers created his own local video production business.
Born March 28, 1959, Brian Vickers came into his own as high school basketball player. The speedy guard was the top scorer for the nationally ranked 1976 Babylon team that finished 23-0. The Panthers were 87-7 during his four seasons, including a 40-game win streak. Babylon won Suffolk County championships in 1975 and 1976.
At Iona, he saw limited action, appearing in 32 games from 1978-81.
Vickers received his master’s degree in business at C.W. Post, where he and his Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brothers began bringing buses of minority kids from Long Island to tour historically black colleges, said his brother Glenn. His involvement lasted 25 years.
“He was just always thinking about others,” William Vickers said.
In 2010, Vickers helped Amityville High School boys basketball coach Gordon Thomas create the “Alzheimer’s All-Star Basketball Classic” and provided tape of the boys and girls basketball games.
“He was just so very helpful,” Thomas said. “He was loved by many, many people and he didn’t have a bad bone in his body. He always gave you the time to talk.”
Vickers is survived by brothers William, 62, of Babylon; Glenn, 60, of Manhattan; and sister, Lisa Robinson, 54, of Wheatley Heights, along with 10 nieces and nephews.
There will be a memorial for Vickers on Feb. 9 from 6-8 p.m. at First Baptist Church, in Bay Shore.