STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — This Kuzma Community Night was different than its three predecessors. The Finnegan Fieldhouse stands were full Wednesday evening as students and community gave a standing ovation to legendary coach Henry J. Kuzma. The new court, aptly named Kuzma Court, was dedicated during the fourth annual community event.
"It was a nice honor and I didn't expect it," said Kuzma. "It was nice seeing a lot of great people here."
A dedication ceremony took place in between the evening's men's and women's basketball games. Rev. Dominic Scotto T.O.R., the university chaplain and close friend to Kuzma, blessed the floor. Family, administrators and trustees of the University were present to honor Coach Kuzma's years of service.
"Coach Kuzma has meant so much to the University and the community that any way we can show support to him and his family is great.," said Mike Florak, director of community relations at Franciscan. "He's a big part of this place so he really deserves it."
Kuzma was head coach for the College of Steubenville's Baron basketball team from 1954-58. The Baron record was 95-19 during those four years. During the 1957-58 season the Barons were named "Number One Small College Basketball Team in the US" by votes from the United Press Poll International.
Kuzma not only affected Franciscan University athletics, but also the fundraising department. Through his fundraising work, Kuzma was influential in the building of Finnegan Fieldhouse, the J.C. Williams Center expansion, the acquisition of the Saint Joseph Center, and many other campus building improvements.
Adding a touch of nostalgia to the event was the Waynesburg University basketball teams. Waynesburg was a big rival for the Barons during Kuzma's time as head coach.
The Barons lost 84-51 and the Lady Barons lost 75-37 on the night.
The games were free and open to the public. Special commemorative T-shirts were tossed out during the event while prizes were given away; proceeds of the 50/50 raffle benefited the Urban Mission.