Hank Kuzma Community Day - 2017
On Saturday, January 28, Franciscan University of Steubenville and The Jefferson County Chamber Of Commerce will once again partner for "Hank Kuzma Community Day." Come out to help cheer on the men's and women's basketball teams as they challenge Pitt.-Bradford and to remember and honor the late Hank Kuzma. Mr. Kuzma was an important and exceptional part of both the University and the Chamber of Commerce families for many years.
The women's game will begin at 2:00 p.m. followed by the men's game at 4:00 p.m.
In addition to honoring the late Hank Kuzma, Franciscan athletics would like to take this opportunity to thank its sponsors throughout the year and specifically EM Media, Hollywood, Motsi Funeral Homes and Trinity Health Systems as sponsorers for Kuzma Community night.
In Honor of Coach Hank Kuzma:
The Late Hank Kuzma’s Indelible Impact On Baron Athletics
Henry J. Kuzma gathered the College of Steubenville Barons for their first practice as their head coach in 1954.
A pencil-thin, young man, Hank was so enthusiastic he barely recognized the challenge of not having a home gym in which to practice.
Ambitious but humble, Hank couldn’t have foreseen how that same school would honor him decades later. Not the championship banner that now hangs in Franciscan University’s Finnegan Fieldhouse. Not the bronze relief of Coach Kuzma and his wife, Kay, that overlooks the fieldhouse lobby. And certainly not the name given to the Baron’s home gym—Hank Kuzma Court.
“I would never have dreamed of this,” Hank said about his most cherished recognition at the 2011 naming ceremony. “I’ve seen other coaches get the floor, but I never expected it.”
In truth, none of the trophies and honors can properly pay tribute to the life of Coach Hank who died September 13 at the age of 86 following a brief illness.
As a legendary coach, dedicated athletic administrator, and tireless Baron supporter, Hank had a bigger influence on Baron athletics than any other single individual. The impact of his personal character on the hundreds of people he touched goes much further.
He is best known as the record-setting Baron’s basketball coach. From 1954-59 he had a stunning 95-17 record, including a 47 home-game winning streak.
His 1958-59 team is the stuff of Baron lore. They went 24-1 en route to being named the No. 1 Small College Team in the Nation by the UPI Board of Coaches, becoming the only team in school history to finish a season with a No. 1 ranking. Kuzma was named “Small College Coach of the Year” for his efforts.
During that stretch, Hank put the College of Steubenville on the map, so much so, that decades later his grandson, Thomas J. Kuzma ’06, remembers going to the Final Four with his grandfather and seeing coaching greats like Georgetown’s John Thompson and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski visit Hank in the stands.
After leaving the College, Kuzma extended his legend with a 152-20 record as the basketball coach at Midland High School in Midland, Pa. His Leopards won five section titles in seven years, including a state title in 1965.
After then serving as principal at Hershey High School in Hershey, Pa., Hank returned to Franciscan in 1979 to take over as director of Athletics and again as coach of the basketball team.