Jim Finn, was recognized as the Jim Brown of Ohio Valley scholastic football for the hard-nosed style of attacking rival defenses while running the football. He recorded an incredible senior season in 1959 when the three-year starter at fullback rushed for 1,062 yards during his first six games.
The 5-10, 180-pounder didn’t slow down during his final three starts of a nine-game schedule finishing with over 1,500 yards for the year. He averaged 21 carries for an average of better than 8.5 yards per attempt.
Expressing so much admiration for Finn’s hard-nosed rushing talents, the late Jim Wheeler, then Finn’s head coach, often praised him by pointing out that when we needed a yard or more for a first down, he got it. At the time Wheeler was quoted in an article printed in The Intelligencer as saying, “I think he is terrific. He runs like a train, has speed and is very shifty. Once he gets in the open he runs like a halfback.”
Finn’s longest run from scrimmage that year was a 55-yard scoring gallop against Wellsburg. In that same game he brought back a punt for 70 yards and another TD. He also could have been a stalwart on defense but the Maroon Knight coaches preferred to rest him as much as possible to keep him fresh when Central had the football.
Finn was selected as an All-City and All-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference performer. He played in the 1960 Ohio-West Virginia All-Star Game.
Following graduation, Jim was drafted into the Marine Corps. He served a tour in Vietnam but he also had the opportunity to play on the football team while he was based in California. Overall, he served three years active duty and another three years of inactive service.
Jim and his wife, the former Edna Rustkoski, live in New Martinsville. They have a daughter, Jamie June, who resides in Benwood.