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Baron Hall of Fame Returns


Posted: Friday January 25, 2008

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STEUBENVILLE, OH — After a 27-year hiatus, Franciscan University of Steubenville will induct four well-known sports figures into its Baron Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony and reception will take place Friday, February 8, at 5:30 p.m. in the Tony and Nina Gentile Gallery of the J. C. Williams Center.

Revitalizing the Baron Hall of Fame follows Franciscan University’s return last fall to intercollegiate athletics as a provisional member of NCAA Division III.

“We are proud to restore the Hall of Fame with the induction of an illustrious group of individuals,” says Alumni Director Tim Delaney. “Each new inductee defines Baron athletics in some way, be it the discipline, teamwork, courage, selflessness, or integrity with which they played the game or went about their duties.”

Being honored are legendary Baron basketball coach Hank Kuzma, Baron basketball player Gary Vogelsberger, Class of 1965; the former voice of the Barons, Bill Chesson; and former athletic director, the late Bob Kloska, Class of 1958.

In 1954 the College of Steubenville hired Hank Kuzma to coach the Baron basketball team. Over the next four years he built the team into a national powerhouse, compiling a 95-19 record that at one point included 56 home game wins in a row. In 1958 the basketball team earned the title “Number One Small College Basketball Team in the U.S.” from United Press International, while Kuzma was named “Number One Small College Coach of the Year” by the United Press Board of Coaches.

After leaving the college in 1958, Kuzma returned in 1978 to coach the Baron basketball team and eventually take on important roles in the Alumni and Development Offices. Today Kuzma lives in Steubenville with his wife, Kay (McCann, Class of 1955), and continues to serve as a fundraising ambassador for the University.

Gary Vogelsberger was a leader on the 1965 Baron basketball team on its magical ride to the school’s only NCAA tournament appearance. During his playing career Vogelsberger was twice named to the NAIA District 22 All Star Team, and in 1964 he was named the best shooter while leading the team to a 21-4 record. In his senior year the talented guard scored 409 points and totaled 1,096 points in his four years with the Barons. Originally from Pittsburgh, Vogelsberger went on to a successful career with a number of national companies in the Seattle area.

From 1960 to 1969, Bill Chesson was the “voice of the Barons” on WSTV radio, providing coverage of both home and away basketball games. A longtime supporter of Baron athletics, he also served Franciscan University as a member of the Board of Advisors and president of the Century Club. Chesson began his broadcast career at WNDU as a student at the University of Notre Dame, and went on to a 35-year career at WSTV and WRKY as sports director and in management. Now retired, Chesson and his wife, Cindy, live in Steubenville.

Two years after graduating from the College of Steubenville in 1958, Bob Kloska became the College’s athletic director and baseball coach. He promptly expanded the sports program by adding a fraternity football league, an intramural basketball league, and other programs.

After leaving the University in 1972, he supported his family by working as a mill foreman at Weirton Steel but kept involved in sports as a booster, ticket taker, athletic director, coach, and volunteer at Holy Rosary Grade School, Steubenville High School, youth baseball, and at his alma mater. Kloska died of cancer in 1993. In 2004, Franciscan University inaugurated the Bob Kloska Invitational Baseball Tournament in his memory. Accepting his Hall of Fame Award will be Kloska’s wife, Terry.

Tickets for the Baron Hall of Fame Induction and Reception are $10 and include hors d’oeuvres and entrance to the Baron basketball game against Ohio University Eastern at 8:00 p.m. that night. For more information or to register by the Friday, February 1, deadline, contact the Alumni Office at 740-284-5210 or alumni@franciscan.edu.

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