Bevo Francis is being inducted as an Honorary Member of the OHSBCA for his contributions to the game of basketball in Ohio. One of the greatest scorers in the history of Ohio and national collegiate basketball, he and his team brought national recognition to Rio Grande for their achievements.
No story is any more colorful and exciting than the legendary Rio Grande College, its offensive machine and Bevo Francis, one of the greatest scorers in the history of college basketball. The change started in the 1952 season. When Bevo and Newt came to Rio Grande from Wellsville High School, the enrollment was 100. Their success put Rio Grande on the map, going from a one-building college to a beautiful campus with an enrollment today of more than 2,000 students.
In Bevo’s last year at Wellston High School, their team finished 23 and 2. Bevo averaged 31 points and on six occasions outscored the entire opposing team. The stories of his collegiate scoring in the 1952-53 season are unmatched. Over a stretch of several games, he averaged over 100 points per game. Against Ashland Junior College in Kentucky, he scored 116 points, yet he only had 65 points through the third quarter. In ten minutes of the fourth quarter he scored 51 points and that was before they had the one-and-one after fouls. That season Rio Grande won 39 games and outscored opponents an average of 33 points. He averaged 50.1 PPG that season despite being double and triple teamed in most games.
During the 1953-54 season he averaged 47.1 points and set an all-time NCAA single game record of 113 points. (His 50.6 average declined in the last four games after he sprained an ankle.) They played many of the top ranked cage powers in 1953-54 and still posted a 21-7 record. Their opponents included Wake Forest and Providence. Bevo was Second Team All-American in 1954 along with Bob Leonard, Indiana; Frank Ramsey, Kentucky; Dick Ricketts, Duquesne and Tom Marshall, Western Kentucky. At that time Bevo was the only small college player ever to make an All-American Team.
After college Bevo played with the Boston Whirlwinds under Newt Oliver, traveling with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Bevo coached girls basketball at Southern Local where his granddaughter played on the team. Their record was 65-5. Bevo’s wife is Jean Francis and they have a son, Frank Francis, and a daughter, Marge Francis Grimm, and three grandchildren: Scott Francis, Sarah Francis and Jarrod Grimm. Their great grandchild is Zachery Francis.