Birthdate: January 4, 1962
Birthplace: Elyria, Ohio
High School: Oberlin Firelands (1980)
Colleges: Defiance College (1984)
Year Inducted: 2023
It’s hard to fathom anyone averaging 30 points per game for their entire high school career, but that’s exactly what Bill Szabo did in legendary fashion at Firelands High School in Oberlin, Ohio, from 1976-80.
An unstoppable 6-5 performer, Szabo made quite a splash as a freshman in 1976-77 as he led the Falcons to a 16-6 record and produced 23.8 points per game while shooting 52 percent from the field and adding 11.7 rebounds per contest. However, that was just a warmup to three more spectacular years at Firelands and another laudable three seasons at Defiance College.
Szabo poured in 29.9 ppg as a high school sophomore and scored at a 30-plus clip as a junior and senior as the Falcons posted marks of 15-3 and 24-1, the latter in 1979-80. After his senior season, he was crowned the Ohio Player of the Year in Division II on top of numerous other awards and recognitions. He left Firelands with 2,567 career points, which still ranks eighth all-time in Ohio high school history and is just six points behind Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame classmate Mike Phillips of Akron Manchester. In addition to averaging 30.2 ppg, he added 13.7 rebounds per game. He capped off his magnificent prep career being named MVP of the Ohio North-South all-star game.
After setting Lorain County records that stand to this day, Szabo went due west to Defiance and continued his torrid production in college. From 1983-85 at DC, Szabo amassed 1,490 points, which ranks 10th in school history. He was a two-time All-American – earning second-team honors in ’84 and honorable mention in ’85. In those two seasons, the Yellow Jackets had a combined record of 47-14 overall and 22-4 in league play, winning the Hoosier-Buckeye Conference title both years. With Szabo as its motor, Defiance set school marks in 1983-84 with a 26-4 record and 20-game winning streak.
Szabo’s career average of 24.4 ppg still ranks best in school history, he’s the first player in program history ever to be named National Player of the Week, and he was a two-time Defiance College Athlete of the Year. Bill Szabo enters the Hall at age 61.