Volume 43 | Number 1 | Fall 2012
Patrician Photography, LLC. Used with permission
Fall 2012 Issue | By Guy Francfort and K.C. Felt, alumni director
ISU Basketball has an East Coast Connetion. Guy and Jim Francfort have decided to honor a friend with the selection of their team name, Idaho State. The following is Guy's explanation.
At first glance it might seem that the selection of Idaho State as a college team name for a third-grade boy's basketball team in Readington, NJ was done as a comedic gesture for my brother, Jim Francfort, who is a graduate of ISU and currently serves on the Alumni Board of Directors.
As league director, I had the first choice of team names and emailed the other five coaches and informed them that Idaho State was no longer available. Other names had been taken as well — Duke, North Carolina, Kansas and Notre Dame.
Our selection of ISU was done in homage to a personal friend who may not be the most famous, but is certainly one of the most honorable and noble of all of the ISU graduates. DeWayne Cruse was sent to live with his brother in Billings, Mont. in 1960 while in high school, by his father, a laid-off coal worker from Pennsylvania. After moving to Mountain Home when his brother was transferred, at 6'8" he became a highly recruited high school basketball star, but chose to play college basketball for ISU. Cruse was selected by the L.A. Lakers in the seventh round upon graduating and was the last player to be cut. He returned east and spent six years playing in the EBA.
After the 1971 season, Cruse took a job as director of the Franklin Township Housing Authority in Somerset County, NJ, where he remained for 32 years. Cruse and his wife Carol started a non-profit program called Kid's Café Parkside Achievement Program that provided meals to underprivileged children and options beyond living in poverty. The program's motto was "Making a Way out of No Way," and Cruse showed them what was possible.
Because of his size and the way he always conducted himself as a gentleman, he demanded respect and demanded that the kids that came through the program respect themselves as well. All the money for the program either came out of his own pocket or from funds he and the participants were able to raise.
An adamant believer in higher education, he helped as many as 100 kids go to college, many whose parents and society would have written off if it weren't for Cruse.
The selection of Idaho State was deliberate and no joke. I hope to be able to teach my third graders to become the man that DeWayne was off the court. If they grow to be 6'8" and get drafted by the Lakers, that will be OK too.