Eli Danilov one of 15 selected for induction



Sunday, August 20, 2006 John Kovach, sportswriter for The Vindicator, will be guest speaker at the banquet. By JOHN KOVACH VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF CAMPBELL — Eli Danilov has been involved with basketball as a player and coach for almost his entire life, and a first-hand witness to how much the game has changed over the years. From playing basketball on the streets of Campbell as a youth using a bucket on a pole as the hoop, to currently serving as an assistant coach for his son, Brian, on the Campbell Memorial High team, Eli has found a way to bring basketball into his life any way that he could. "I just have a love of the game of basketball," said Danilov, now 80, who played guard for Campbell Memorial three years (1941-44) under coaches George Cebula and Ernie Gustinella, and for Youngstown College four years (1947-51) under coach Dom Rosselli, "It is just something that took over me. I just love playing all the time." One of 15 entering Hall As a reward for his long dedication and contributions to the game that he loves, Danilov has been selected for induction into the 2006 class of the Campbell Athletics Hall of Fame. He will join 14 others in the seventh induction class that will be honored at a banquet Sept. 28 at St. Michael's Byzantine Catholic Church Hall on Robinson Road in Campbell starting at 5:30 p.m. One other coach also was selected for induction — Ed Rozum (1971) — who was head coach of the Campbell football team for 12 years and three different times (1978-81, 1985-93 and in 1999). The other selections are, for football: Jim Ciccolelli (1948), Andy Cimmento (1955), Joe Kavinsky (1953), Ted Liszka (1972), Jeff London (1951) and Eugene Stancin (1959); football-baseball: Al DiRienzo (1973); baseball: Mike "Babe" Maddick (1933) and Rick Zuzik (1975); basketball: Lewis Jackson (1991) and Ken Kish (1962); basketball-baseball: Ed Bozic (1989); and contributor: Hull's Dairy Queen (Abby and son, John Hull). John Kovach, sportswriter for The Vindicator, will be guest speaker at the banquet. Tickets may be reserved by calling Cathy Berry at 330-750-9369 or 330-507-1646. Has seen game change Danilov said basketball was a much slower game back when he played, with the emphasis being on the one- or two-handed set shots from the outside or plays designed to penetrate the ball and set up layup shots near the hoop. And, of course, defense. He recalled that when he played for Campbell, "On our team was Larry Kukura. He was probably the highest scorer we had. He had a nice one-handed shot. The jump shot didn't come around yet." Besides Kukura, Danilov's teammates also included the Roper brothers, Steve O'Dea, Danny Modak and Mike Malys. Danilov remembered that he started his first game at Campbell as a sophomore under Gustinella during the 1941-42 season. "I was a point guard and tried to get [the offense] started. I would call plays," said Danilov, who later played for Cebula the next two seasons before graduating in 1944. After graduation, Danilov joined the Navy and the PBY squadron that did search and rescue missions in the Gulf of Mexico and hunted down German submarines. He was stationed in Corpus Christi., Tex. Played four years at Youngstown He was discharged from the Navy in 1946 and then enrolled at Youngstown College in 1947 on the GI Bill, and played four seasons (1947-51) as a guard for the Penguins under coach Dom Rosselli, while earning his college degree. "At Youngstown, boy were we gypsies," recalled Danilov. "Our home gym was South [Fieldhouse] but we had to travel around to practice wherever we could get a gym. Occasionally, we would be lucky enough to get a practice session at South because high school kids were using the gym. Those were some years, but they were good years." Some of his Youngstown teammates were Harry Krall, Sam Jankovich, Walt Brian, Mike Magula and Ray Wise. Started shooting jump shot Danilov also was part of the jump-shot revolution in basketball while with the Penguins. "The jump shot was beginning to take place. I started shooting the jump shot at that time," remembered Danilov. "I just picked it up on my own. I saw someone else do it. It was so effective. That's how it started to spread." Danilov loves serving as an assistant coach for son Brian at Campbell. One of their highlights as a father-son coaching team came in 1993 when Campbell won a state championship. Al Kelley, a member of the Campbell Hall who played for Danilov, also was an assistant coach on that 1993 team. Eli is married to his high school sweetheart, the former Mary Ann Thomas, and they have another son, Tim, and two grandchildren, Tim Jr, and Brittany. kovach@vindy.com

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