STEUBENVILLE—When asked what her father would have thought about the community event held on the campus of Franciscan University of Steubenville in his honor, AnnaMarie Kloska said, “The first thing he probably would have said would have been: ‘What can I do to help?’” That statement encapsulates Robert J. Kloska.
Robert “Bob” Kloska graduated from the College of Steubenville in 1958 and started as its athletic director in 1960, launching a varsity football program, basketball program, bowling league, and many intramural sports programs. His tenure at the University lasted until 1972. Kloska later worked as a mill foreman at Weirton Steel, but remained involved in college and community sports until his death from cancer in 1993. Throughout his 64 years, Kloska also served as a Little League coach, the Steubenville Big Red Assistant Athletic Director, and AD for Holy Rosary Elementary School.
For the fifth year in a row, Franciscan University teamed up with the Steubenville community and the Kloska family to celebrate Kloska Community Day. In years past, this event consisted of just a doubleheader baseball game, the sport that was closest to Bob Kloska’s heart. This year, a full day of events was added to the schedule.
Highlighting this year’s event were free tennis clinics provided for children in the morning, and free soccer clinics in the afternoon. Franciscan students and staff helped run the clinics. AnnaMarie commented on how fun it was to be able to see it all happening. “I loved watching the [Franciscan] students help the young kids. Students here are very giving; when you give them an opportunity to give back, they embrace that. You don’t get that everywhere.” The Kloska family also donated an iPad 2 that was raffled off during game two of the baseball game. All proceeds went to the Friends of Widows and Orphans Organization.
Despite the baseball and softball teams each dropping both games of their doubleheaders, the Kloska Day schedule boasted a men’s tennis match against the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. The Barons continued their hot play, as they extended their winning streak to six games with a 9-0 victory.
But winning wasn’t entirely what the day was about, according to AnnaMarie Kloska. “Dad was really big into joining sports and the community, and that’s what’s important. For him, he was all about talking to students and bringing people together. He would have loved that [the event] has grown and is including both the community and the university. It would have been very fulfilling.”