Jerry Lucas graduated from Middletown High School, where he was an All-American, National and Ohio player-of-the-year and led the Middies to two state championships and a state-record 76-game winning streak between 1956 and 1958. His 2,460 career points rank 10th in Ohio history, and he holds the state tournament record of 53 points set in a state semifinal.
Following high school, he played for Coach Fred Taylor at Ohio State, and in three years led the Buckeyes to a 78-6 record; the school's only National Championship 40 years ago in 1960; two national runner-up finishes, and three Big Ten championships. He was a three-time All-American; two-time National Player-of-the-Year, and three-time Big Ten Player-of-the-Year while scoring 1,990 points and grabbing a school-record 1,411 rebounds.
Lucas played 11 years in the NBA with the Royals, Warriors and Knicks. He was a seven-time All-Pro; was the NBA Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP of the All-Star Game; averaged 17 points for his career, and his 15.6 career rebounding average is still fourth best in league history. Jerry was on the 1973 Knicks' World Championship team and was selected as one of the NBA’s top 50 players of all time.
Lucas was also a member of the 1960 U.S. Basketball Team that won the Olympic Gold Medal; was the first basketball player to have his jersey retired here at Ohio State, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Ohio State, Lucas is a memory expert and inspirational speaker and currently resides in California.
Al Oliver was born in Portsmouth where he was a standout in baseball and basketball for Portsmouth High School. Oliver went on to an outstanding career in Major League Baseball, playing 18 years with seven different teams. From 1970 to 1976, he played on five Pirates division championship teams and was on the 1971 team that defeated Baltimore in the World Series.
In his 18 professional seasons, he had a career batting average of .303 with 2,743 hits, 219 home runs and 1,326 RBIs. He batted over .300 eleven times and was selected to seven All-Star Games. Oliver currently lives with his wife, Patricia, in Portsmouth, where he heads the Al Oliver Foundation and is a public and motivational speaker.
The late Jesse Owens won nine OHSAA state track and field tournament events — including four as both a junior and senior — and set seven state records while competing for Cleveland East Tech High School. At the national interscholastic meet in Chicago during his senior year, he set a world record, tied a world record and set a national high school mark.
Owens then enrolled at Ohio State where he performed one of the greatest feats in athletic history. Uncertain that he would even participate after recently falling down a flight of steps, Jesse set world records in the 220, 220 low hurdles and the long jump and tied the world mark in the 100, all in a span of about 45 minutes.
In 1936, he qualified for the Olympic Games, which were held in Nazi Germany amidst the belief by Adolf Hitler that the Games would support his belief that the German “Aryan” people were the dominant race. Owens became the first American track & field athlete to win four gold medals in a single Olympiad.
Before passing away on March 31, 1980, he worked with youths in Cleveland and Chicago and spoke at various worldwide functions, where he affirmed that individual excellence, rather than race, economic background or national origin, distinguishes one man from another.
Owens’ spirit lives in his three daughters, Gloria, Beverly and Marlene, and their work with the Jesse Owens Foundation based on Chicago. Owens was represented by his daughter, Marlene Owens Rankin, who was joined by her husband, Stuart Rankin.
Tony Trabert was born in Cincinnati and was a tennis standout at Walnut Hills High School. He became the first player in OHSAA history to win three straight state singles titles, taking the crowns between 1946 and 1948. He also played guard and was co-captain of the basketball team, helping the Eagles win a district championship.
Trabert went on to the University of Cincinnati, where he won the NCAA singles title and the U.S. Clay Court Championships and also played on the Bearcats’ 1950-51 basketball team.
Trabert was the world’s top-ranked amateur in 1953 and 1955. During that 1955 season, he won 18 tournaments, including three of the four Grand Slam singles events, the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. His record that year was 106 wins and seven losses. His career saw him win five Grand Slam singles and five Grand Slam doubles titles, and he also was a member of the U.S. Davis Cup Team from 1951 to 1955, helping the 1954 team win the title, and he was that team’s captain between 1976 and 1980.
Among his many honors, Trabert was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1970, and he has served as the Hall of Fame’s president since 2001. Following his playing career and a two-year stint in the U.S. Navy, Trabert worked as a teaching pro, motivational speaker and television commentator, where he was known for 30 years on CBS as “the voice of the U.S. Open.” He currently resides in Ponte Vedra, Florida, with his wife, Vicki, and has two children and three step-children.