Annual Kuzma community event set for Saturday

STEUBENVILLE — It’s an annual event that has become an area favorite.

The fifth-annual Hank Kuzma Community Day will be held from 1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday.

The Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce will partner with the Franciscan University of Steubenville for the day, which offers chamber members and their guests, along with members of the university family, to watch the Franciscan University of Steubenville womens and mens basketball teams take on the University of Pittsburgh Bradford.

The men play at 2 p.m. and women at 4 p.m.

It’s a day of competition and community to remember the work of the late Kuzma and showcase the university’s sports program. Kuzma was an important part of the university and chamber of commerce families for many years. This event brings together his family, university students and staff and chamber members along with their employees and families.

Kuzma,who died Sept. 13, 2014, at the age of 86, was affiliated with the university for more than five decades.

He became coach of the then-College of Steubenville basketball team in 1954. His accomplishments included leading his team to a 56-game winning streak and, his 24-1 Barons were named the No. 1 small college basketball Team in the United States by the United Press International Board of Coaches in 1958.

Kuzma left the college the following year but returned as basketball coach in 1978.

When the university dropped intercollegiate athletics in 1981, he took on new roles, including serving as the university’s alumni director, director of corporate and foundation support and director of development.

He was involved in every capital campaign and was instrumental in raising funds for the J.C. Williams Center and most of the newer buildings on campus.

In 2001, Kuzma was voted into the Lou Holtz Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame, and in 2008, he and the 1958 team were enshrined in the Baron Hall of Fame.

On July 19, 2011, the playing surface inside Finnegan Fieldhouse was renamed the Henry J. Kuzma Court.

Attendees will be able to watch Saturday’s games courtside or from the Baron Room. Game tickets are available at no cost.

The hospitality room will have refreshments available to attendees throughout the day and admission is free.

Area residents can RSVP by contacting the chamber at (740) 282-6266.

Sponsors for the event include Valley Hospice Inc., Trinity Health System, Encino Energy and Carriage Inn Of Steubenville.