CENTENARY, Ohio — It was a long overdue honor for a true Blue Devil.
Prior to Friday night’s Southeastern Ohio Athletic League boys basketball game between Gallia Academy and visiting Warren, GAHS retired John Milhoan’s No. 38 hoops jersey, the first time in school history anyone has received the honor.
“I’m a Blue Devil all the way,” Milhoan told the crowd at Friday night’s game. “I never expected this. I humbly support our teams, thank the coaches, thank the administrators and thank all of you. I really appreciate it.”
Milhoan, a varsity basketball player for Gallia Academy in the 1954-55 and 1955-56 seasons, holds several season records at GAHS, including most points scored (714), most foul shots made (207), most foul shots attempted (245) and most rebounds (473). Milhoan also holds the high-water mark for points in two years, at 1,123.
Single-game school records held by Milhoan include most field goals in one game (24), most free throws made in one game (23) and most rebounds in one game (31).
In addition to school records, Milhoan holds two SEOAL records. John scored 466 points in 14 SEOAL games his senior year, a record for points scored in SEOAL play for one season. On Jan. 24, 1956, Milhoan poured in 63 points in a victory over Logan, which is, to this day, an SEOAL and school record, respectively.
Both in Milhoan’s junior and senior campaigns, the Blue and White went unbeaten in the league, with their closest contest coming in a 16-point victory.
Milhoan went on to play college basketball at Marshall University, where he finished with 1,122 career points and was inducted into the MU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1986. As a captain in his senior season, Milhoan averaged 22.9 points per game, placing him second in the Mid-American Conference and landing him a spot on the all-conference team.
“This guy is a legend,” Gallia Academy athletic director Rich Corvin said of Milhoan. “When you look at his numbers and what he did in the era he played in, he’s a legend. But it’s all the other stuff that he’s done for our school system and our kids. I wouldn’t say there’s a criteria for it, but it’s the longevity, the loyalty, the commitment and the dedication to Gallia Academy High School.”
After graduating from Marshall, Milhoan returned to Gallia Academy, where he served as history teacher, basketball coach and golf coach. In 1983, he was the first golf coach to be elected to the Ohio High School Hall of Fame.
When his 30 years as history teacher were finished, Milhoan began substitute teaching for GAHS. As of Friday night, Milhoan has been a substitute teacher for 2,890 days. He and his wife, Jane, also serve as athletic event attendants for GAHS.
“It’s a great honor because the local people put it on,” Milhoan said. “I’ve worked here at the school for 55 years and I really appreciate the effort they went to in keeping it a secret. It means a lot more when your own people do something like this and that’s why it’s especially special.”
Not only was Milhoan’s No. 38 jersey hung from the rafters Friday night, but his great-nephew Braden Simms — a sophomore multi-sport athlete at GAHS — presented him with a plaque in recognition of his loyalty, dedication and commitment to education and athletics and Gallia Academy High School. Also on hand was John Sutherland, of Marshall University, who presented Milhoan with a new MU letterman’s jacket.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.