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OVAC Sports Museum

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LINDA HARRIS / The State Journal. Lou Groza was an American football placekicker and offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns. He was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio. The museum features a display box for each OVAC member school. LINDA HARRIS / The State Journal. Lou Groza was an American football placekicker and offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns. He was born in Martins Ferry, Ohio. The museum features a display box for each OVAC member school.
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Museum Celebrates Valley’s Sporting Greats

By LINDA HARRIS

lharris@statejournal.com

The achievements of Ohio Valley Athletic Conference member schools and their students are celebrated in the OVAC Sports Museum, located in the halls of WesBanco Arena in Wheeling.

Over the years, Ohio Valley schools have produced legions of great student athletes, including many who went on to play in college, turned pro or competed in the Olympics. The museum tells their stories, paying tribute to their accomplishments with display cases filled with photographs, game jerseys and souvenirs remembering past greats.

Every OVAC high school, including some that no longer exist, is represented in a separate display box scattered throughout the hallways of WesBanco Arena.

Larger display cases showcase sports eras in the Ohio Valley, featuring tributes to professional greats from the area such as the legendary Boston Celtic John Havlicek, who is a Bridgeport (Ohio) High School alum and Pittsburgh Pirate second-basemen and Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski, whose walk-off homer in the 1960 World Series sent the Yankees home in defeat.

Additional showcases display the trophies and awards many of the athletes brought back to the Ohio Valley. Other displays pay tribute to non-athletes, such as Weirton’s Bill Paolisso, who spent 50 years refereeing games in the OVAC. Life-sized banners in the rafters pay tribute to the likes of Lou Holtz, Phil Niekro, Lou Groza as well as Mazeroski and Havlicek.

There’s even an oversized map showing the location of each school in the OVAC region.

After years of planning, the museum opened for viewing in 2009.

The displays can be viewed during Arena events as well as non-event working days.