STEUBENVILLE - The Big Red Booster Appreciation Dinner was first conducted in 1997 as a way to honor Lou Giammarco, a great friend and follower of the school's athletic program.
On Sunday, the 16th-annual version of the event, held in East Elementary School, saluted seven individuals for giving their time and talents to support the program.
Herb Crossland, a longtime booster, took it upon himself to form a committee of club members to select the honorees. Each spring, boosters nominate individuals deemed worthy for consideration. The 2012 group was described as "probably the most well-rounded of all the previous honorees."
HONOREES — Seven individuals were honored Sunday for their contributions to the Big Red athletic program. They were saluted during the 16th-annual Big Red Boosters Appreciation and Football Kickoff Dinner held at East Elementary School. From left, Tom Cusick, accepting on behalf of his uncle, Chuck Watt, Earl Cramblett, Bob Cornelius, Richard Beal, Hal Paul and Bob Fellows. Tim McCoy also received an award.
-- Ed Looman
The 2012 honorees are:
The late Charles "Chuck" Watt, who spent 23 years as head basketball coach at Steubenville High School. A 1945 Big Red graduate, Watt guided his teams to a 350-149 record. Watt's squads captured eight Ohio Valley Athletic Conference titles, 12 sectional crowns and four district championships.
Watt also was an assistant football coach, head baseball coach and served as manager of the Post 33 American Legion squad.
Earl Cramblett, a 1950 Big Red graduate, who owned and operated a BP station in town from 1968 to 2009. For many years, he provided tickets for Big Red's basketball team, coached by Watt, to attend the Round Ball Classic at the former Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. He also raised money to rent the Belleview Clubhouse and Pool for football team functions.
Cramblett described the honor as a "real privilege."
"Big Red has always been in my heart," he said. "No matter where I go, when I mention I am from Steubenville, people immediately talk about Big Red. Everyone knows Big Red football."
Tim McCoy, vice president and general manager of WTOV-TV, has been a major supporter of Big Red football and related programs. Through the years, he has been involved in numerous organizations all designed to improve the quality of life in the Ohio Valley.
McCoy noted Big Red has a great football tradition and program.
"I support all athletic programs throughout the Ohio Valley," he said. "This is a special one with its tradition and my children go to the school system. When I look at the list of people who have been honored, I am truly humbled. I really appreciate the recognition."
Harold "Hal" Paul, who served as Big Red's football coach from 1956-1959, and laid the foundation for the school's entrance into the All-American Conference. He was involved in upgrading the facilities, including the construction of the Cartledge Field House. He compiled a record of 22-18. During his four years at Big Red, he sent 18 players to Division I colleges.
Steubenville, according to Paul, "was always my town from the first day I came here. I have so many fond memories of my days here."
"I was very fortunate to be surrounded by good people on and off the field," he continued. "I was associated with players and coaches who were loyal and willing to work. Here, all you had to do what let people know you needed help and they were there for you."
Robert C. "Bob" Cornelius Jr., a 1965 Big Red grad. He has served as the school's athletic trainer for a combined 40 years. Cornelius has taught at Harding Middle School and the high school.
"I guess I live and die red and black," he admitted. "I just appreciate everything they are doing for me and my family."
Bob Fellows, a 1968 SHS graduate, who has been serving as Big Red's equipment manager for the past 15 years. A member of the Boosters Club, Fellows is a fixture at all school athletic events.
Fellows noted he was "honored and humbled" by the recognition.
"I don't do what I do for recognition," he pointed out. "I do it for the love of the game."
Richard B. Beal, a former member of the Steubenville board of education. Beal attended city schools before graduating from Wintersville. He has been involved in a number of community organizations.
"I am truly grateful," Beal noted. "Big Red athletics mean a lot to me. I support the kids, always have and always will, no matter what sport they play. I really believe the kids are what it's all about."
Big Red coach Reno Saccoccia congratulated all the honorees and thanked them for their contributions to the athletic program.