WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – We continue our 7 Sports Zone Flashback series with a trip back to March of 1989, when the Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals were rocking the “Bird Cage” and earned a trip to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
Jay DeFruscio’s team opened that season by winning their first 22 games and were ranked as high as No. 4 in the country in the NAIA poll. The Cardinals defeated Guilford, N.C., and Drury, Mo., in the tournament before losing to Central Washington in the Elite Eight.
That team was led by three Valley boys in Dave Foose and Shawn Straughn from Bishop Donahue and Doug Keperos from Martins Ferry. Mike Connor from Philadelphia became the school’s all-time leading scorer that season with 2,045 points, while Foose ended his career as the all-time free throw percentage leader in NAIA history. Coach DeFruscio earned, WVIAC, District 28 and NAIA Area 7 Coach of the Year honors.
The Cards finished that outstanding season 31-4.