Statue a fitting tribute

If you’re a sports fan living in this region, you are aware of the accomplishments of the late Calvin Jones.

His exploits on the field at Harding Stadium are legendary, and his achievements at the University of Iowa are even more impressive.

He left a mark on the game of football at every level he played, which makes the statue that was unveiled Aug. 24 before Big Red’s home-opener against Penn Hills a fitting tribute. The 6-foot, 8-inch bronze rendering, which was created by world-renowned sculptor Jerry McKenna, now stands as a tribute, along Calvin Jones Way, right at the entrance to the stadium.

While playing with Iowa, Jones would win the Outland Trophy, earn consensus all-American honors and become the first African-American to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. That Sept. 27, 1954, edition remains among the classics in the magazine’s history.

Jones is among the most highly regarded players to come through the Hawkeyes’ program.

He was a standout player and team leader during one of the brightest periods in the long history of Iowa football, the school said in a statement provided by Steven Roe, the assistant athletic director for athletic communications, when he learned about the statue.

Iowa ranks second in the number of players to have won the Outland Trophy, which is presented to the top college lineman in the country, the school said. It was that kind of effort that led Forest Evashevski, who coached Jones at Iowa, to call him “the greatest lineman I have ever coached.”

The Big Ten school added that Jones is one of two Hawkeyes who have earned consensus all-American honors in more than one season, an accomplishment that provides a glimpse of why the No. 62 worn by Jones is one of only two numbers to be retired in the 130-year history of the program, the school said. The other number is 24 — that belonged to Nile Kinnick, the 1939 winner of the Heisman Trophy and the man after whom the stadium is named.

Interestingly, both men died in plane crashes — Jones on Dec. 9, 1956, when the flight that was carrying him from Canada’s all-star football game — Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 810 — crashed in the Canadian Rockies, and Kinnick on June 2, 1943, when the Naval aviator’s training flight crashed off of the coast of Venezuela.

From his hometown of Steubenville to Iowa City, from the stadiums of the Big Ten to the fields of professional football in Canada, the memory of Jones is alive today, and that’s what makes the statue that stands in front of Harding Stadium an important marker for our area.

¯ Dogs, dogs and more dogs: The annual Friendship Cluster All-Breed Dog Show continues with competition today and Monday at Friendship Park in Smithfield. The event, which is sponsored by the Fort Steuben Kennel Association and the St. Clairsville and Beaver County kennel clubs, is bringing more than 650 dogs and 160 breeds to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

The annual event attracts people from across the United States and Canada as well as overseas, organizers explained.

Residents of the Tri-State Area really enjoy our dogs, a fact we were reminded of by a National Today survey compiled before National Dog Day, which was Aug. 26. Ohio is ninth on the list of dog-loving states, with 82 percent of the state’s residents saying they love dogs. Californians rank No. 1, with 88 percent saying they love dogs. The survey tells us that 80 percent of Pennsylvanians and 72 percent of West Virginians say they love dogs.

¯ ICYMI: Big Ten fans can sleep easier — Comcast and Fox have reached an agreement for continued carriage of the Big Ten Network, as well as Big Ten games that are broadcast on FS1. The deal means fans of Ohio State and other Big Ten teams who are subscribers to Comcast won’t have to worry about missing any games this season.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)

COMMENTS