It's an understatement to say that the late Jim Foti was a winner.
From his birth in Jamestown in 1910 to the end of his incredible life at age 94 in 2004, that's all the little guy with the huge heart did. He was a winner and helped to nurture dozens of other winners.
Foti will honored for his productive athletic career when he is inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 18 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.
The other inductees will be Ron Blackmer, Cal Cederquist, Ron Blackmer,d Walt Thurnau and Jim Young.
Foti, who came from a family of nine boys and a girl, started out an outstanding athlete at Jamestown High School where he played basketball for two years and football for four years with his brother, George, and was named captain of the team in 1930.
He graduated from JHS in 1931 and went to St. Bonaventure University before moving on to John Carroll University where he played football, basketball and hockey. His small stature (5-foot-6, 160 pounds) and fiery demeanor on the field certainly didn't hold Foti back and he was named to John Carroll's all-time football team.
Following his graduation, Foti stayed on at John Carroll as a freshman basketball coach for a year, then became the basketball coach at Erie Prep for two years, where he compiled a 26-8 record before making a move to the Ohio Valley that would prove to be the perfect area to build his legacy that included stops at Wheeling Central Catholic High School and Bellaire High School as both a basketball and football coach.
During his tenure, he racked up 466 varsity basketball victories, making him one of four coaches in that region to reach 400 wins. He coached championship teams in three divisions of the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference and also coached West Virginia teams in Ohio Valley all-star basketball and football.
His teams at Warwood High won 11 sectionals and seven regional, appearing in the West Virginia state tournament seven times. His basketball teams at Wheeling Central won five Catholic state championships and compiled an overall mark of 117-28.
He was the line coach at Warwood when the Chuck Howley played there. Howley went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and was an all-pro linebacker.
Both Howley and Foti are members of the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Sports Hall of Fame with Foti being inducted in 1984. Foti was also inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 1990.
Foti also coached the Wheeling Puritans semi-pro basketball for two years, 1947 and 1948.
The CSHOF induction dinner will begin with a hospitality session at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Bruce Baumgartner, regarded as the greatest heavyweight freestyle wrestler in American history, will be the guest speaker.
Tickets may be purchased at the Jamestown Cycle Shop, Matt's News in Dunkirk and the Fredonia Food Mart. Tickets can also be ordered by calling Chip Johnson at 485-6991.
The price per ticket is $50. CSHOF members receive a $5 discount.