Sports Column: The challenge to Christian athletes

Ryan Held

Sports Editor

As athletes, one of the many words we are familiar with is ‘legacy,’ but the questions remain: do we even know what legacy really means, and what do we want our legacy to be?

It is always a good idea to find someone to model ourselves after. As Catholics, we have the saints. They are the ones who came before us and figured this life out. Their lives and examples serve as playbooks, showing how we too should live.

Yet, as well as the Saints and as Franciscan University athletes, what better example could there be for us that the life of coach Henry “Hank” J. Kuzma?

Many of us upon walking into Finnegan Fieldhouse and seeing Kuzma Court do not exactly know who coach Kuzma was.

Kuzma was a legendary Basketball coach. Under his tenure from 1954 to 1958, Franciscan University, or the College of Steubenville as we were known back then, saw some of the greatest teams we have ever had. He led the Barons once to win 56 home games in a row and in 1958 after a near perfect season of 24-1, the Barons were ranked the number one team amongst small colleges.

Not only was Kuzma a great coach, but he was a great man as well. Much of what is seen on campus is in some way due to the work of coach Kuzma. He served as the alumni director, director of corporate and foundation support as well as the director of development. Kuzma was also a key figure in raising funds for the J.C. Williams Center and other newer buildings on campus.

Coach Kuzma passed away on September 13 and a vigil service was offered for him September 16 on the court that bears his name.

He will never be forgotten.

When someone left this world, the ancient Romans used to say, “He has lived.”

That is our challenge today as Christian athletes. St. Paul tells us to run the race to the end. This we must do both on the field and off. Coach Kuzma did. He ran all the way until the Lord called him home.