Over the course of his life, Kuzma has worn a number of hats Ð athlete, coach, athletic director, educator, administrator and fundraiser. To most of his friends, however, he is still just "Coach."
Kuzma may best be known throughout the Valley as a successful coach of basketball programs at both the college and high school level. As coach of the former College of Steubenville Barons, Kuzma was chosen "small college coach of the year" in 1958. That same year his team was selected as the No. 1 small college team in the nation by the United Press Board of Coaches. With talents such as Jim Smith, Paul Brownlee, John Clark, John Blanda, John Nese, Wayne Smith, Jack Cibulka and Bobby Maher, the Barons made the NAIA tournament three times.
A few years later, Kuzma made headlines as coach at Midland High School in western Pennsylvania. With stars such as Norm Van Lier (a 1999 Lou Holtz/Upper Ohio Valley Hall of Fame Inductee) and Simmy Hall, KuzmaÕs Midland teams won 141 games and lost only 15. The team played in the (top) Class AAA division in Pennsylvania, and in 1965, won 28 straight games and the state championship.
Also a teacher and administrator, Kuzma served as principal of Midland High School, a position he also held at Hershey High School in Hershey, Pa., from 1968 to 1976. He returned to Steubenville in 1978 briefly as coach and athletic director. He worked for several years as director of development for St. John Medical Center (now Trinity Medical Center).
After the University of Steubenville dropped the intercollegiate athletic program in 1981, Kuzma's on-court strengths as coach were channeled in a new direction of university development. He has been a participant of every capital campaign and fund-raising project undertaken by the university. He has served the university as alumni director, director of corporate and foundation support and director of development. Today, he serves as "university ambassador." He has raised funds for all of the newest buildings on campus.
He continues to help Franciscan University of Steubenville today through his consulting agency, Hank Kuzma Associates. In addition to the university, Kuzma aided with fund-raising projects for Assistance in Motherhood, St. Peter's church, All Saints School, the Sisters of St. Francis and other non-profit organizations in Steubenville and Weirton.
A native of Steelton, Pa., Kuzma was a star on his high school basketball team that was Central Pennsylvania champion. He then played two years of independent basketball before the late Chick Davies recruited him for Duquesne. He played four years for the Dukes starting in the 1947-48 season. Led by Charlie Cooper, Red Manning and Kuzma, those Dukes made the NIT field at Madison Square Garden twice and compiled a 70-23 record over the four-year period.
Following college, Kuzma played semipro basketball in Harrisburg and was employed in the manufacture of Thompson jet engines. He and his wife, Catherine, a retired teacher of 40 years, have four children and 13 grandchildren.