Birthdate: September 4, 1932
Birthplace: Hammondsville, Ohio
High School: Wellsville High School (1950)
College: Rio Grande College (1954)
Died: June 3, 2015
Year Inducted: Charter Class of 2006
No story is any more colorful and exciting than the legendary Rio Grande College, its offensive machine and Clarence “Bevo” Francis, one of the greatest scorers in the history of college basketball. The change started in the 1952 season. When Bevo and Newt Oliver came to Rio Grande from Wellsville High School the enrollment was 100.Their success put Rio Grande on the map from a one building college to a beautiful campus with an enrollment of more than 2,000 students.
In Bevo’s last year at Wellsville High School their team finished at 23 and 2. He set a new state record by scoring 57 points in a single game. He made All Ohio and became the first player in high school to win the Helms Athletic Foundation Award. Wellsville retired his jersey and inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 2004.
The stories of his collegiate scoring in the 1952-1953 season are unmatched. Over a stretch of several games he averaged over 100 points. Against Ashland Junior College in Kentucky he scored 116 points. That season their record was 39-0 and they outscored their opponents an average of 33 points. He averaged 50.1 ppg that season despite being double and triple teamed.
During the 1953-54 season he averaged 47.1 points and set an all-time NCAA record of 113 points against Hillsdale. They played many of the top ranked cage powers in 1953-1954 and still posted a 21-7 record. Their opponents included Wake Forest, Providence, Butler and Creighton. Bevo was Second Team All-American in 1954. At that time he was the only small college player to make an All-American Team.
Bevo Francis died on June 3, 2015 at the age of 82.
Watch Bevo’s Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech: