• 46°

Alfrey enjoys Rio Grande reunion

John Alfrey got a special invitation to a special event.

Saturday, October 21, 2000

John Alfrey got a special invitation to a special event.

Alfrey’s invitation came from legendary University of Rio Grande basketball coach Newt Oliver for the 48th team reunion that was held on July 29 at Oliver’s farm in Springfield.

Alfrey, an Ironton resident, got the invitation through his brother-in-law John Rehme of Decatur.

"We visit with them all the time, and I never realized he was a brother-in-law of Newt Oliver until I met him one day at their house," Alfrey said. "When (Oliver) scheduled the reunion, he told John and Margaret to bring me with them to the reunion."

So Alfrey and his wife, Fondalene, made the trip to the reunion where they met Oliver, team manager Dr. Carl Benne, and players Dan Vynalek, Roy Moses, and the legendary Bevo Francis.

Alfrey was in the service at the time Francis played at Rio Grande. After his stint, he attend Ashland Junior College. The two schools became linked forever because of the Rio Grande basketball team.

"Bevo scored 116 points at Ashland Junior College and I went to school there. People knew I had gone to school there so they told me about Bevo scoring all those points," Alfrey said.

Attending the reunion was a lot of fun for Alfrey. He said Oliver has a cabin on the farm where he displayed hundreds of mementos including old basketball uniforms.

"We just fished and reminisced," Alfrey said. "It was really interesting to listen to all the old stories."

Alfrey got a chance to talk with Francis, and when they finished, he got an informal invitation for the next reunion.

"When we finished, he said, ‘See ya next year,’" Alfrey said.