Ron Sepic (2009)

Hard work, determination and a never give up attitude were instilled in Ron Sepic by his parents and those attributes served Sepic well in athletic competition and in life.

Sepic made the sacrifice to be a great player.

Ron Sepic

“I was always a goal setter,” Sepic said. “I did that in everything I did. When practicing I'd go up to the playground. It would be, ‘Can I make it around the world?’ I wouldn't go home until I made it all the way around, and it had to be a swish.
“When you're doing that for hours at a time, eventually you have to get pretty good at shooting.”

Sepic was a star football and basketball player at Uniontown High School in the 1960s.

The Uniontown playground system was an incubator for Red Raider stars and the two junior highs — Ben Franklin and Lafayette — also were big factors in Uniontown's athletic success.

“We had a great feeder system,” Sepic said. “The playground system, the junior high school system and in grade school we had the Saturday morning basketball league. One of the things we did in the junior highs in football and basketball was that they had us running a lot of the plays and the system that the high school teams were being taught by Bill Power and Abe Everhart. When we got to the high school we were pretty much ready to go.”

The Red Raiders were a dominant football power and won a WPIAL title in Sepic's junior season, posting a 10-0 mark. In basketball, Sepic was a part of a Uniontown juggernaut that lost a total of five games in three years and captured a state championship in 1962.

Sepic has fond memories of his high school coaches.

“Bill Power was a very smart football coach,” Sepic said. “He was very well organized. His scouting program was excellent, as was the team concept of how he broke the team down into different groups. I thought he was just a great organizer. He was never a man that really lost his temper. You wanted to play for him out of respect and that was the same thing with Abe in basketball. He was the same way. Abe was a guy that you wanted to play for. You didn't fear him, but you respected him. You knew that they both knew what they were doing and they got the most out of their athletes.”

The basketball Raiders posted a 29-2 record on their way to a state championship in 1962. Uniontown defeated Norristown 70-57 in the state title game.

Uniontown lost to Bethlehem on Jan. 27, 1962. From there the Red Raiders went on to win 36 games in a row before they ran into John Naponick and Norwin in the 1963 WPIAL basketball playoffs.

Sepic was All-County in football and basketball and also garnered first-team All-State honors in both sports as well, being named to the Parade High School All-American basketball squad in 1963.

He was heavily recruited in both football and basketball when he graduated from Uniontown in 1963.

“It came down to Ohio State, Duke and West Virginia because I thought they would be the closest. Duke was too far and Ohio State was the closest of the Big Ten schools. I was torn between playing football or basketball, but Woody Hayes only threw the ball about three times a game and I was a tight end, so I knew I was going to be a blocking end. I wanted to have my hands on that leather and I chose basketball.”

The Buckeyes were a basketball power, but didn't match their earlier success when Sepic played in Columbus

“We were pretty good,” Sepic said. “We didn't have the big man because; actually, my junior year I played guard. I started as a sophomore after about the third game. We played Michigan, who was the No. 1 team in the country. They had Cazzie Russell and Bill Buntin. We played them toward the end of the season, and I guarded Russell, who was about 6-5. They moved me out to guard. I had played forward all year long. We beat them and the next year I played guard. My senior year I played both forward and guard.

“We never made the NCAA tournament. At that time you had to win the Big Ten. They didn't take the number of teams that they do now.”

Sepic was the Buckeyes’ captain in 1967 and tallied 1,107 points in 72 games for an average of 15.4 points per game.

Pro football and pro basketball came knocking after Sepic's senior season at Ohio State.

The Washington Redskins drafted Sepic in football, even though he didn't play in college. The NBA Cincinnati Royals drafted him and he made the final cut to six rookies.

“In those days we didn't have agents, and the Redskins' camp started in July. I had been accepted to dental school and I had to let them know by July if I was going to go to dental school or play pro ball. I was considering playing either one, but I knew I couldn't go to the rookie camp for football with dental school.

“Always in the back of my mind were mom and dad saying you have to get an education. My wife, Susan, and I were married and we had our first son, Ron Jr. I told the Royals if I get a no-cut contract I'll play pro basketball and I was going to give up a year of dental school. They said no to the no-cut contract and I said I'm going to dental school.

“The education paid off. From dental school I went on to become an orthodontist in Uniontown and it's been a great life.”

Sepic, 64, married his high school sweetheart, the former Susan McMillan, and they have been married for 44 years. They have two sons, Ron Jr. and Chris, and a daughter, Lynn.


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