STEUBENVILLE - Four outstanding former Franciscan University of Steubenville athletes and a long-time supporter of its athletic programs were inducted to the university's Hall of Fame Saturday at the J.C. Williams Center.
The five are: Allyn Curry and the late Walt Osborne, both of the Class of 1967; Paul Rue and John Holley, both of the Class of 1973; and the late Robert D'Anniballe Sr.
Long-time Steubenville resident and business owner D'Anniballe served on the university's board of advisors for many years and was a strong advocate for its athletic programs.
HALL OF FAMERS — Four former Franciscan University of Steubenville athletes and one long-time supporter of the school’s athletics programs were inducted to its Hall of Fame Saturday. On hand for the ceremony were, from left, front: Lynn and Karen D’Anniballe, who presented their late father and inductee Robert D’Anniballe Sr.; and back: Chris Ledyard, the university’s athletic director; inductee Paul Rue, Class of 1973; Joe Nolan, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee; and inductee Allyn Curry, Class of 1967. Also inducted were John Holley, Class of 1972, who was unable to attend; and the late Walt Osborne, Class of 1967.
-- Josh Wetmore
His contributions are remembered through a scholarship awarded to a Jefferson County resident each year in his name and the D'Anniballe Rugby Ruckus held annually by the school at Harding Stadium.
D'Anniballe also was known for his service to the community, including his efforts in raising funds for the Teramana Cancer Treatment Center.
The Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, president of Franciscan University, said D'Anniballe was one of the first people he met when he began his tenure.
"You could tell the love he had for the university and the Steubenville community," he recalled.
"He loved the university and was very committed to it very early on. He was passionate about the university and its mission," said his daughter, Karen, who joined her sister Lynn and other family members in accepting the honor on his behalf.
The four former Barons basketball players inducted to the hall of fame also shared a love of the school.
A Cleveland native, Curry recalled he passed up a full scholarship at West Virginia University and the distinction of being the first African-American player in the southern conference to play for Steubenville.
He went on to receive the Father Paul Hoffert, TOR, Memorial Student Athlete Award in his freshman year and to serve with Osborne as co-captains.
"Most of us came into the school together. It was great. It became our family away from home," said Curry, who now works in career graduate services for the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and volunteers as a junior high school basketball coach and for Cry of the Children, an organization for at-risk youth.
Curry said Osborne, who was named the team's Hardest Worker his senior year, was very much a mentor to him and other teammates who came to the campus after him.
Before his death from heart disease in 1990, he served as executive director of the Greater Erie Community Action Committee, a position that enabled him to work with inner-city youth.
"He was just a naturally good person," Curry said.
A Pittsburgh native, Rue was a top scorer for the team and also was known for his skill at stealing rebounds from opposing players.
He said attending the university was a new world where he was exposed to people from many other places and made many new friends.
"I came here to play basketball but I think the most important thing was the relationships I developed here," said Rue, who has competed and placed at the national Senior Olympics and taught shot put and discus to members of the Steuben Striders Track Club.
Also a Cleveland native, Holley was the first freshman Most Valuable Player in the school's history and was expected to become the leading rebounder and scorer for the 1966-67 season.
But his basketball days were cut short by a gunshot wound before his senior year. Following many months of recovery, Holley returned to the campus in a wheelchair, determined to finish his education.
He went on to become an announcer for WSTV radio and news assignment editor for WTOV television before moving to Oregon, where he worked as public relations director for Boy Scouts of America and volunteering with fundraising for the United Way and screening calls for the state's child abuse hotline.
Richard Beall, a close friend, said Holley was unable to attend because he's recovering from surgery but has spoken fondly of his days at the university.
"John was a fierce competitor. There was never a time when he backed down from anybody," Beall recalled.
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