Success Stories

Ronald F. Walker

No one handed Ron Walker an easy trip through life, a life cut short by his untimely death in 1997. Ron was born in 1938 in Cincinnati. When he was a young boy, he started playing basketball at Friars Club. Through the steady guidance of coaches and the skills he learned competing, winning and losing, and working as part of a team, Ron grew into a man of substance in his community.

He graduated from the University of Cincinnati, joined the United States Army, and began a steady career rising to become the Vice Chairman of Great American Insurance Company. While rising in the corporate ranks, he served on many corporate boards and developed several small businesses, including Coney Island, Americana, and others. Outside of the corporate boardroom, Ron used skills developed at Friars Club to lead the Bethesda Hospital Board of Trustees. He served variously as an officer and trustee for TriHealth, National Phi Delta Theta Educational Board, the University of Cincinnati Foundation, and the University of Cincinnati College of Business Administration Advisory Board.

It is not the resume; it is the way he handled himself that makes Friars Club most proud. That is why the Youth Sports Program was rededicated as the Ron Walker Youth Sports Program in his honor in the fall of 1999. Today and tomorrow’s youth will come to know this man who received so much from Friars Club, and who returned even more than he got, and they will be inspired to live up to the standards he set.

Judge Thomas C. Nurre

If anyone had told young Tom Nurre in the 6th grade when he was walking to play basketball at Friars Club that he would someday sit on the bench of the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, he might not have believed them. However, he probably did know that in some way or another, Friars Club would always be a part of his life. Judge Nurre and his family personify the generations of Cincinnatians dedicated to Friars Club.

Judge Nurre’s father was a friend to Friars Club, helping them move into their current location in 1931. Judge Nurre has been involved at Friars Club his entire life, including service for 20 years on the Board, serving at times as its President and winning the Friars Award in 1991. He shared his Friars Club experience with his children as they participated in the same basketball leagues he had participated in years before.

“Friars Club taught me more than how to play basketball and swim. They taught me discipline, how to stay out of trouble, how to work hard and how important it is to be a man of character,” said Judge Nurre. “My Friars Club coaches taught me values, competition and good sportsmanship, all skills I took to my experience on St. X’s team and into my career.”

Jerry Campbell

Jerry Campbell grew up in a family on public assistance after his father abandoned a young wife with three small children. An extremely dedicated mother and the Friars Club youth program provided Jerry the tools to become a success instead of a statistic. Jerry reported to Friars Club on an almost daily basis to participate in recreation and sport activities. His younger brother and sister followed in his footsteps and also took advantage of the opportunities afforded by Friars Club.

The Campbell kids all became college graduates and are success stories. Jerry in particular graduated from the University of Cincinnati and now is employed as the Assistant Chief Probation Officer in Hamilton County. Many years ago Jerry returned to his roots and became a volunteer coach in the sports program. His son Chris had been involved in the basketball program for six years. Living in Wyoming, Jerry states that his son has ample opportunity to participate in activities in their community but he really wanted Chris to have the “Friars Club experience”.

Robert Conway Sr.

Those who know Bob Conway Sr. are not surprised to learn that this man, who has been at the helm of several successful businesses, could have once been found driving a bus full of Friars Club kids to camp in Michigan. Having spent many hours as a teenager and young adult running around the athletic club, playing basketball and teaching swimming, Bob Conway knows the value of Friars Club's influence on young people’s lives, and has supported Friars Club throughout his career.

Mr. Conway went from driving the Friars Club bus to running several major corporations, including Jung Products, Jung Corporation, Conway Industries and the Bistro Group, during his career. During that time, he and his wife raised their eight children. In addition, Mr. Conway acted as a community leader on many area boards, in particular those dedicated to education and health. He lent his many talents to the Friars Club Board for 15 years, earning the Friars Award in thanks for his service to Friars Club and the community.

If you ask Mr. Conway what he is most proud of regarding his association with Friars Club, he quickly states it is the pivotal role he played in shepherding the club from serving only men and boys to being a co-educational facility. He says, “It became apparent that Friars needed to serve the entire community. If Friars wanted to remain the community asset that it had been, we needed to expand our base – and serving girls and women was the right place to do that.” Mr. Conway’s vision proved true, as Friars Club now embraces boys and girls, men and women as participants in the Ron Walker Youth Sports Program and as members of the Athletic Club.

Jaxson Hayes

Jaxson Hayes played basketball at Friars Club during middle school. The skills and values he learned at Friars Club allowed him to play at Moeller High School, the University of Texas, and the New Orleans Pelicans.

"Being a part of Friars Club at age 10-14 was extremely important for my growth as a young man and athlete. The program helped me develop skills to navigate life both on and off the court. Skills I still use today as I'm beginning my NBA career."

-Jaxson Hayes