Three honored high school athletes who earned fame in football, basketball, baseball, track and wrestling will be feted at the ninth annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame inductions.
Tom Rataiczak, Executive Secretary of the OVAC, announced the three athletes from the decades of the 1940's and 1950's who will be honored at the banquet on August 18 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
The Hall of Fame inductees are the late Eugene (Eudie) Joseph of Martins Ferry High for the 1940's Decade, and Art Hehr of Bridgeport and Joe Maroon of Bellaire St. John's for the 1950's Decade.
The OVAC Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Robinson Auto Group of Wheeling, and the OVAC Sports Museum are located inside WesBanco Arena.
Capsule summaries of the honorees follow:
EUGENE (EUDIE) JOSEPH
A three-sport All-OVAC honoree in football, basketball and track, he was a major contributor to top-record Purple Rider football and basketball teams.
In basketball, playing for OVAC Hall of Fame Legend coach Floyd Baker, he was a regular on teams which went 71-4 in three years including 21-2, with 20 straight wins, as a senior. He was a a junior on a 26-1 record teamwhich won the first OVAC Class AA title in 1944. That team lost its only game to eventual Ohio champion Middletown, 38-34 in the state tournament semifinals. Joseph, along with teammate and OVAC Hall of Famer Alex Groza, were all-tournament selections. Joseph scored 421 points-2nd on the team to Groza's OV record total of 628 points. As a sophomore, Joseph was a member of a 24-1 record team.
In football, he was co-captain of a 7-2-1 record team which won the first OVAC Class AA title and recorded eight shutouts. He earned All-Ohio UPI honors as well as All-OVAC and was a two-time All-Eastern Ohio selection at running back. Nicknamed the "Ghost" for his elusive style, he played on a 9-1 record team as a junior and Ferry was 22-6-1 in his three seasons.
In track, he set an OVAC high hurdle record in the two-year-old meet as a junior and won the high jump. He didn't compete as a senior after being drafted for military duty. After discharge, he enrolled at the University of Dayton and played four years of basketball with three as a starter on teams with school records of 24-8, 27-5 and 28-5. The last two years, the Flyers were runners-up in the National Invitation Tournament and also were NCAA regional semifinalist in his senior year of 1952.
He spent his entire 37-year professional career teaching and coaching at Linsly Military Institute where he was head coach of boys basketball (1953-72) and track and assistant in football and also served as athletic director. His Cadet teams won three OVAC titles-1971 basketball and 1961-62 in track. The top court records were 16-4 in 1957, 15-4 in1971 and 15-3 in 1972. A Linsly scholarship is named in his honor.
He graduated as the winningest career wrestler in the OVAC with two straight unbeaten seasons capped by Ohio titles in 1958 and 1959 after placing third in the state meet as a sophomore. He was captain of the 1959 Ohio state championship team-the first for an OVAC member, coached by OVAC Hall of Famer George Kovalick. He won his last two titles at 127 pounds after competing at 120 pounds as a sophomore. He also won three consecutive OVAC titles on conference championship teams.
He also competed in football and was a member of the Bulldogs' first-ever unbeaten season in 1958 and the first Bridgeport team to defeat rival Martins Ferry, in 1956.
After serving in the U. S. Army from 1959-62, he enrolled at West Liberty State where he was a member of the West Virginia Conference title teams in 1962 and 1963, also coached by Kovalick. He was injured and couldn't compete for part of his college career.
After graduation, he coached wrestling at Wheeling College and started the wrestling program at old Skyvue High School. He also coached Martins Ferry High to an OVAC title in 1968 as well as sectional and district crowns. He also served as a wrestling official from 1970-86 and as athletic director at Skyvue for 28 years and Monroe Central two years plus three years as track coach at Skyvue.
He resides in Woodsfield.
A four-year Irish ;letterman in football, basketball and baseball, he became the first St. John's gridder to earn first team All-Ohio football honors (as a defensive safety) and also was an All-Ohio baseball selection. A two-time All-OVAC and All-Valley football honoree, he was co-captain of the 1957 All-OV 'Big School' honor roll as a 5-foot-6, 150-pound two-way back. After earning second team All-OVAC honors as a sophomore, he helped the Irish record the school's first-ever perfect football season of 9-0 with an OVAC title as a junior under coach Hen Healy in 1956. Then he posted major statistics in only seven games (6-1 record) in a senior season shortened by influenza.
As a senior, he led the Irish in scoring and rushing in the seven-game season. He led Eastern Ohio with 107 points on 17 touchdowns and five conversion runs and also completed 16 of 35 passes for eight scores. He had eight TD runs between 50-80 yards; returned four kicks for TDs with a long of 78 yards; and had three four-TD games against Wheeling Central, Mingo and Barnesville. On defense, he intercepted five passes and also punted.
A three-sport Irish team co-captain, he also was selected captain of the winning Ohio team in the annual Ohio-W. Va. All-Star game. He also was awarded the Coca-Cola Scholar-Athlete Award by the OVAC.
He attended Indiana University on a football scholarship and earned Academic All-America honors. He was a starting halfback in 1960 and averaged 5.3 yards a carry. After receiving a medical degree from Indiana, he trained at Georgetown University and at Oxford U. in England. Currently Vice-Chairman and Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh, he is also the Team Neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He also participates in numerous marathon races and Triathlons. He was the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Man of the Year for 1987.
He resides in the Pittsburgh area.