Saturday, October 24, 2009

DePaul Loses Hall of Famer Ron Sobie

DePaul lost one of its great when Hall of Famer hoops legend Ron Sobie passed away on October 23. The esteemed Blue Demon cager amassed 1,222 career points and ranks No. 4 all-time at DePaul in career scoring average at 18.2 points per game, trailing only Mark Aguirre (24.5), Howie Carl (20.0) and George Mikan (19.1).

"We lost a true DePaul legend today," Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto said. "I think the fact that he was inducted into the first class of DePaul's Hall of Fame with names like George Mikan and Ray Meyer speaks volumes of his impact as a Blue Demon."

Born on September 21, 1934, Sobie attended Saint Bonaventure Academy in Sturtevant, Wisconsin before matriculating to DePaul University. He played as Blue Demon from 1953-56. Sobie was only the second Blue Demon to amass more than 300 points in each of his varsity seasons.

"I knew him from way back. When I was coaching high school he killed us," said DePaul Hall of Famer Jim Seri. "Ron was a great ball player, but more importantly, he was a great man."

The captain of the 1956 squad finished 29th in the country in scoring and propelled DePaul into the NCAA Tournament. Additionally he finished the season ranked 13th in free-throw shooting and ninth in rebounding.

After completing his senior year, Sobie was tabbed to play in the World Series of basketball, a 21-game tour of games between the Harlem Globetrotters and a team of College All-Stars coached by DePaul legend Ray Meyer. Sobie was named MVP of the 1956 Series. He would later return to court against the Globetrotters as a member of the Washington Generals.

Sobie was drafted by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the first round with the sixth overall selection of the 1956 NBA draft. On draft day, he was traded to the New York Knicks for Gene Shue. The 6-4 guard played parts of four seasons for the New York Knicks, appearing in 192 games and scoring more than 1,600 career points. Sobie's best NBA season statistically was in 1957-58 when he averaged 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds. He finished in the NBA's top ten in free-throw percentage, shooting .820 for that season. His NBA career was cut short by a knee injury.

"He was a great player," Said DePaul Hall of Fame Center Jim Flemming (1958-61). "He was a big guard and he could shoot from anywhere."

In addition to his skill as basketball player, Sobie was a first-rate softball player. He owned a renowned sports bar in Cicero called Sobie's Bar and Grill which often sponsored one of the top 16-inch softball teams in the country. Sobie's won the ASA Major 16" National Championship in 1966, 1967 and 1968.

Sobie was inducted into the inaugural class of the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976 and was added to the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.

The wake for Ron Sobie will be held at Chapel Hill Gardens West in Oakbrook Terrace (17 West Roosevelt Road) from 3-9 p.m. on Mon., Oct. 26. The funeral will be held Tues., Oct. 27 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph's Church, 4801 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515.

Ron Sobie also will be memorialized as a part of the 2010 Hall of Fame Memorial Mass on January 31.