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Ron Silvieus

Silvieus saw all angles of the game

Edgewood grad contributed as a player, official and sports editor

By Chris Larick
For the Star Beacon

Ron Silvieus is one of a rare breed, having served as a basketball player, official and sports editor during his career.
It isn't that unusual for a player to cross over to the other side and become an official. But it is very rare for that same person to also serve as a sports editor. 
Silvieus will be inducted into the Ashtabula County Basketball Foundation's Hall of Fame on April 12 at the Conneaut Human Resources Center as a contributor.
"I had a lot of interest in sports, mostly high school and college basketball," said Silvieus, who graduated from Edgewood in 1953.
Silvieus eventually grew to become 6-4, but he got that growth later, some of it even after he graduated. In high school he played guard. 
Set to start his senior year on Russ Sahlberg's Warrior team, Silvieus broke his wrist before the first game. He had played football as an end under Bob Larkins. 
"I caught a few passes but was mainly a blocker," Silvieus said. "We played in leather helmets at that time." 
The Warriors were not a good team during that time.
Silvieus also ran track, competing in the long jump and high jump. He once high-jumped 5-3, a good mark at the time. The Fosbury Flop, which revolutionized the art of high-jumping, didn't exist until much later.
"We did the barrell roll then," he said. "That was a long time ago."
After graduation, Smoky Cinciarelli convinced Silvieus to try to get a scholarship to Newbury (S.C.) College.
"We drove down there and I played about a week," Silvieus said. "I didn't like it. I got homesick. I was in my 20's, had been out of high school a couple of years. It was all segregated down there; they had black and white drinking fountains."
Silvieus was working at the Rockwell Brake plant at the time, "making pretty good money at that time," as he said.
He thought about getting into coaching. When the sports editor's job at the Geneva Free Press opened up, he took that instead. That was in the mid '50s.

RON SILVIEUS lays in a bucket during his playing days. Silvieus had a successful career in sports as an athlete, basketball official and sports editor

RON SILVIEUS (standing far left) as a member of the Berry Minks (An independent team)


"That was the best job I ever had," he said. "I didn't make a lot of money, but I got to go to games, type up the games and take and develop pictures.
"At that time you had to take a lot of pictures. We covered a lot of things, including Little League.
Al Bailey was the head basketball coach at Spencer, then at Geneva during those years.
"He had a little temper," Silvieus laughed. "He was my neighbor and we played together for a few years (in independent leagues)."
Silvieus also did some officiating, but found he didn't care for it that much.
"I felt sorry for the underdog," he said. 
After he graduated from Edgewood, Silvieus became a star in the various independent leagues around Ashtabula, starting with Sterling Jewelers, a team that also included players like Ducky DiPietro, Ray Kovacs, Ray Peet, Dick Benham and Ray Secchiarri. In addition, he played in the Industrial League with the Pruden Chicks, a team that included Al Bailey, Norv Turner, Dolph Tersigni, Jim Ayers and at times Dale Arkenburg. Other teams he played for included Rockwell, Brake, Berry's Minks, the Geneva Free Press and Astatic Local 3655. Silvieus was normally the high-point scorer on those teams.
One time in 1957 or 1958, Bevo Francis, the star who had scored a record 113 points in a game for Rio Grande College against HIllsdale College, came to the county with his barnstorming team, to play Astatic. Silvieus and the Astatic team, including ACBF Hall of Famer Jerry Puffer. Francis's team won, 95-79, but Silvieus guarded the 6-foot-9 Francis and outscored him, 26-19.
Silvieus eventually quit the Free Press to make more money. He and a friend built homes for a while. Then, in 1964, he obtained a job at the Linde Wire Plant, part of Union Carbide. He worked there for 30 years, retiring in 1998.
He married Peggy Berry, a 1957 Spencer graduate whose father ran Berry's Mink Farm near Geneva, in 1957. Silvieus played for his father-in-law's team, the Berry Minks, for a while.
The couple had five children, one of whom, Robin, died in childhood. The others are Rhonda, Rick, Ronnie and Renee. They were all good athletes, according to Ron. A niece, Laura was inducted into the ACBF Hall of Fame last year.
Ron likes outdoor sports and used to hunt a lot. He has a boat and still does some fishing, mostly for walleye and perch.

Larick, a retired Star Beacon sports writer, is a freelance writer from Geneva.

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