Calipari to Keynote | Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Basketball Legend John Calipari to Speak in Steubenville

    ESPN’s John Buccigross Returns to Emcee Fundraiser; Wilinski, D’Anniballes to Receive Awards

    February 15, 2013

    STEUBENVILLE, OH—Legendary University of Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari will be the keynote speaker at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s 2013 Baron Club Dinner (formerly the Century Club Dinner). This will be a rare opportunity to hear from one of the NCAA’s most successful basketball coaches.

    The Baron Club Dinner begins at 7:00 p.m. Saturday, April 20, and is the major fundraising event of the year for Baron athletic programs. 

    A native of Moon Township, Pennsylvania, and a 1978 graduate of Moon Area High School, Coach Calipari garnered his first NCAA National Championship in 2012 when he led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to their eighth title.

    Calipari is one of only two coaches to lead three different schools to a Final Four finish (UMass-1996; Memphis-2008; Kentucky-2011, 2012). En route to the 2012 national championship, Calipari guided the Wildcats to an NCAA record-tying 38 wins and a perfect 16-0 mark in the Southeastern Conference. His NBA experience includes head coach
 of the New Jersey Nets and assistant coach with the 
Philadelphia 76ers.

    Calipari impresses upon his players the importance of academics and the development of life skills. Fifteen of the last 18 seniors who came through his Memphis program earned their bachelor's degrees. The Kentucky team posted a 3.12 grade point average in the 2012 spring semester with 10 players earning a 3.0 GPA or better.

    Calipari is the author of two books, Refuse to Lose and Bounce Back: Overcoming Setbacks to Succeed in Business and in Life. He is the second consecutive Baron Club keynote speaker who was raised in the tri-state area. East Liverpool native Lou Holtz spoke at Franciscan University at last year’s event.

    “People who remember last year’s dinner can look forward to an equally enjoyable evening,” said Mike Florak, director of Community Development at Franciscan University.

     ESPN’s John Buccigross will return to his hometown to be the master of ceremonies, as he did for the 2011 dinner. Buccigross is a 1984 graduate of Steubenville Catholic Central. His ESPN duties include hosting SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, NHL 2Night, and other assignments. Buccigross’ admitted favorite sport is hockey, which prompted him to write the book, Jonesy: Put Your Head Down and Skate, about former NHL player Keith Jones.

    At the dinner, the 2013 Baron Club President’s Award will be presented to Rich Wilinski, principal of Steubenville Catholic Central High School, for his 54 years in education and his contributions to Ohio Valley youth. It will also be presented posthumously to long-time community and business leaders Arthur J. D’Anniballe, Jr., CPA, and Robert J. D’Anniballe, Sr.

    Wilinski has served as principal of Catholic Central since 2008, and was a former teacher and head football coach at the school in the 1970s and 1980s. He served as principal of Buckeye North High School from 1985-1989, and as principal of Edison High School from 1989-2008. He also taught and was head football coach at Toronto High School from 1970-1977. His career in education began in 1959 at St. Anthony’s High School in Follansbee, West Virginia. He has received numerous awards for his achievements on the football field, in the classroom, and as a school administrator, especially for his unfailing dedication to molding and educating area youth.

    Brothers Arthur and Robert D’Anniballe were fixtures in the Steubenville community. Successful in business, they gave much back to the community, including fundraising for the Teramana Cancer Center and Franciscan University athletics, though both avoided drawing attention to their many works of charity. Both were charter members of the Franciscan University Century Club, which preceded the Baron Club.

    HOW TO ATTEND: The Baron Club Dinner will be held at Franciscan University on Saturday, April 20, at 7:00 p.m. in Finnegan Fieldhouse. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. with refreshments and a cash bar. Reservations are required. Tickets are available starting at $60 each at or from the Alumni Office at 740-284-5210. Register soon to ensure a ticket. High school coaches are encouraged to attend and bring players to hear Calipari’s inspiring message.

    PHOTOS: For high resolution photos of John Calipari, John Buccigross, and the President’s Award recipients, contact Tom Sofio at


    • Became the first coach in University of Kentucky history to receive the Adolph Rupp National Coach of the Year Award.
    • Five of his UK players were selected in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft, the first time a school has ever produced five first-round picks. Among those picks was the first Wildcat ever taken as the No. 1 overall pick, John Wall.
    • Overall, Calipari has turned out 15 NBA draft picks, 11 first-rounders. Included in Calipari's NBA success are three No. 1 overall picks over the last five years. No other coach has had three No. 1 picks.
    • Following his third season at UK, Calipari's overall on-court record soared to 547-154 for an impressive 78.0 winning percentage. His 547 wins in 20 years are the second most in NCAA Division I history.
    • Calipari's 78.0 winning percentage is the third-highest among active NCAA Division I coaches with 10 years’ experience.
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