Big Red, Red Riders represent the 1960s decade of prestigious OVAC Hall of Fame
Two honored multi-sport prep athletes who competed at higher levels will be inducted at the 15th annual Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Hall of Fame banquet on August 18 at WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.
Tapped from 1960’s decade are Don Osby of Steubenville High School and Bill Tucker from Weir High School. Both will be inducted postumously.
Previously announced inductees include Steubenville’s Zach Collaros and Beaver Local’s Adam Hoppel for the 2000s decade; Wheeling Central’s Eric McGhee and Edison’s Kelly Shields for the 1990s; Bellaire’s Georgia Dawson and Linsly’s Ron Stephens for the 1980s; and Bellaire’s Ron Lee and Martins Ferry’s Keith Vrotsos for the 1970s. The selections from the decades of the 1950’s and 1940’s will be announced on March 18.
Capsule summaries of the 1960’s honorees follow:
DON OSBY (Steubenville, 1968 Class) — A three-sport Big Red stalwart, he is regarded as the best-ever track long jumper in OVAC history. He won Ohio’s largest Class AA long jump title as a sophomore (23-feet-3) and junior (23-feet-7 1/4) before being ruled ineligible (overage) as a senior.
As a junior, competing on one of the most talented track teams in OV history, he was one of 10 All-Valley Big Red selections and one of four Big Red co-captains, while being cited as “the finest jumper ever on the local scene.” That spring, he won the Ohio State meet, the prestigious Mansfield Relays, OVAC Class AAA, Martins Ferry and West Liberty Relays, the Ohio District meet and was second in the Regional meet. He also ran a leg on an OV record-setting 4×440 relay unit which timed 3:19.8.
As a sophomore, besides the state crown, he won the Martins Ferry Relays in 23-1 3/4.
Big Red won its first four OVAC track crowns from 1964-67 with Osby featured on the last two.
In football, he was a three-year standout and on Ohio-ranked teams with records of 9-1, 9-1 and 8-2.
He was also a starter in basketball. He is honored on the Big Red Wall of Fame.
Osby accepted a football scholarship to the University of Iowa and started at wide receiver as a sophomore when he landed 19 passes for 276 yards, third on the team. After sitting out his junior year with an injury, he returned as a starter at tight end as a senior.
He passed away earlier this year in Cincinnati.
BILL TUCKER (Weir, 1962 Class) — A three-sport Red Rider athlete, he was a major player on back-to-back state Class AAA championship teams before starring in college and competing five years in the National Football League.
A two-way back and defensive tackle, he teamed with OVAC Hall of Famer Bob Kelley to lead Weir to the 1960 state crown with a 40-0 finals rout of Nitro. The anchor of the 1961 team, he scored two TDs in a 26-7 state title win over St. Albans. Both teams finished 10-1. Tucker earned first-team All-State as a senior and third-team as a junior. He was selected captain of the All-OVAC and All-Valley selections as a senior. In two seasons, he scored 116 points and rushed for 1,445 yards. In the annual Ohio-West Virginia All-Star game, he led WV to a 12-6 win and was selected team MVP.
He played forward and center in basketball and started on the 1962 team that went unbeaten in regular season, won an OVAC title and ended 24-1 as state Class AAA runner-up to Beckley Woodrow Wilson. In track, he ran the hurdles, 220 and 440-yard sprints, and was a member of 440, 880 and mile relay units in OVAC and state competition..
After taking a year off after high school, he accepted a football scholarship to Tennessee State University to play for Hall of Fame coach John Merritt. A four-year player, he rushed 281 times for 1,321 yards. He was selected to play in the Blue-Gray Classic and Senior Bowl, the first Tiger to play in the latter.
He was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round as the 65th overall selection and competed as a fullback for five years in the NFL (four with the 49ers and one with the Chicago Bears). In 69 games, he rushed 127 times for 431 yards and 6 TDs and landed 59 passes for 496 yards and seven scores.
Tucker is inducted into the City of Weirton Hall of Fame, Tennessee State U. Sports Hall of Fame and Weir High Wall of Fame.
He passed away in 2015 in Snellville, Ga.