Who the Heck is Bevo Francis?

Nack, William
October 1992
Sports Illustrated;10/22/92, Vol. 77 Issue 17, p34
Nearly four decades have passed since that winter night in Jackson, Ohio, when Bevo Francis jumped and soared and shot his way into basketball history. But Wayne Wiseman can still close his eyes today, return to that hardwood floor and see the scene that would forever define for him the two years he spent watching the man spin magic into memory. It was Feb. 2, 1954, and tiny Rio Grande College in Ohio--a school of 92 students, just 38 of them men, eleven of whom filled the roster of the school's basketball team--was racing through the final minutes of a blowout over Hillsdale, Michigan. Rio Grande won the game 134-91, and Francis ended up with 113 points--38 field goals and 37 of 42 free throws--a single game scoring record that stands today. In a college game still suffering the stings of the 1951 game fixing scandals, here was a shy, long-boned, earnest young man of 21, the son of a poor Ohio clay miner, whose appearances in ever larger and richer venues--he would take his team to play in Madison Square Garden and in Boston Garden--commanded enough money to help keep his financially moribund college alive. With Rio Grande in desperate financial shape, Oliver had taken the $3,500-a-year job as head basketball coach; had coaxed a rich alumnus, a car dealer, to come up with $3,000 for basketball scholarships; and had gone right after Bevo, who was still 1� credits shy of graduating from high school.


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