Francella Washington, Class of 1976 - 2011 Inductee
Frani Washington among 8 to be inducted into African American Sports Legends HOF
By Brian Buckey / The Blade
Thu, 08 Jun 2023 13:04:29 EST
Looking back on her 1976 girls basketball state championship at Woodward High School, Frani Washington said the camaraderie of her team and the bonds they shared made what they accomplished memorable.
But winning the first edition of the state tournament for girls basketball in Ohio, the significance of that achievement has grown on Washington later in her life.
“It was outstanding,” Washington said. “I was elated back then. It was one of the highlights of my life. My team was actually the greatest I’ve ever had closeness-wise. That team stands out totally, because we were young and hungry. We did a lot of things together, but as a team, we were really close-knit. It means more now than it did when it happened, because now I’ve had an opportunity to see the
progression of women’s sports in Toledo — especially basketball.
“Back then it was just winning the first state championship. Today I’m looking at the progression and I’m saying, ‘Wow.” It means more now, because I understand more about the sport itself. To be the first was really one of the outstanding highlights of my life.”
Washington, who went on to star at Ohio State in college, will be inducted into the African American Legacy Project’s Sports Legends Hall of Fame on Saturday along with seven other standout athletes from the Toledo area.
The induction ceremony is free to the public and begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at Jerusalem Baptist Church, 445 Dorr St.
At Ohio State, Washington led the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title in 1978 and in 1979 became Ohio State’s first women’s basketball All-American.
“You dream about playing for Ohio State,” Washington said. “Playing for Ohio State, I liken it to getting your first pair of shoes. You go in with a little discomfort, because you don’t really know how good you are, and you don’t really know what to expect. But then after wearing your shoes for a little while, it becomes like old hat.”
As one of the pioneers of women’s basketball in Toledo, Washington is still proud of the legacy she has left for young women as they aspire to reach their own greatness.
“I do feel a certain bit of nostalgia and responsibility for the young women’s game in Toledo, Ohio,” Washington said. “That’s one of the reasons why the [Sports Legends] award is so pronounced because I am still pace-setting the way for the next great legend coming out of Toledo, Ohio. That’s why we play. We don’t know it at the time, but that’s why we play. We are setting the groundwork for the next great person or the next championship. We always want to set the pace for the upcoming group.”
A committee of 21 members are involved with the selection and voting process for each Sports Legends Hall of Fame class.
“This class crosses generations,” Robert Smith, director of the African American Legacy Project, said. “The integrity of lives of these individuals is beyond reproach — on the field and past the time they were performing as athletes. If you look at the work they’ve done on the field and what they have done after athletics, it really is incredible.”
Peter Hess, Class of 1966 - 2007 inductee.
Dr. Keith M. Bell Sr., Class of 1974, 2007 inductee.
Courageous in the pursuit for education equity, a former superintendent gets his Ed D. Some people seem to “outlive” others — not necessarily longer or more trouble-free lives, but with a fuller, more buoyant existence. Consider Keith Bell. At 62, he will be the second oldest doctoral student to graduate at Ohio State’s autumn commencement on Dec. 16.
Read the full article from The Ohio State University.
Dennis S. Sankovich, Class of 1973, 2016 inductee
October 5, 2021 Stranahan Theater hires interim executive director
The Stranahan Theater has a new leader, at least for the next six months.
The theater’s board of trustees announced Monday that Dennis S. Sankovich is taking over immediately as interim executive director. He replaces Stephen Hyman, who resigned on Sept. 9.
Mr. Sankovich is a Woodward High School graduate who earned a bachelor and master’s degree at the University of Toledo. He began his professional career at Bowling Green State University, before serving as executive director of the Toledo Jazz Society. He then served as regional manager of the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in New York and later spent 16 years as executive director of The Ritz Theatre in Tiffin.
January 31, 2019
MERIDIAN, MS – Dennis Sankovich, the executive director who oversaw the creation of the MSU Riley Center and shepherded it through more than a decade of bringing top performing artists from around the world to downtown Meridian, is retiring the end of March.
“Dennis guided the MSU Riley Center from construction to its triumphant opening, and from concept to its current status as a mainstay of Meridian civic life and anchor of our downtown Riley Campus,” said Terry Dale Cruse, Ed.D., administrative director and head of campus at Mississippi State University-Meridian. “The university, the community and all of east central Mississippi owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
Read the full article.