Rochester Institute of?Technology inducts Dunkirk resident into Hall of Fame

Ross A. “Chick” Di Biase, a native of Canonsburg, Pa., and now living in Dunkirk, has been inducted into the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) Sports Hall of Fame. He was one of six former RIT athletes honored recently.

From 1952-1954, Di Biase had an outstanding wrestling career, grappling at 147 and 157 pounds. A three-year captain, Ross guided RIT to a 24-7 record. In 1954 he was 8-0 while the team posted a perfect 10-0 mark.

In 1952 he won the prestigious Niagara District AAU title. In three seasons, he only lost six matches. Three of those losses came against Frank Bertuchi of Division I Cornell University. Bertuchi later was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the 1954 NCAA Championships. Di Biase also placed in the 4-I private conference, where RIT was a member.

While a student at RIT, Ross was also organizer and president of the RIT Lettermen’s Club. And he served on the board of the RIT Swimming Club and Horse Riding Club.

During his senior season, Di Biase went to work at the Hickok Belt Factory in Rochester. A Food Administration and Hotel Management major at RIT, he did his cooperative studies at Ceases Restaurant in Dunkirk. Later, he purchased the restaurant. After selling the business, he went on to become Director of Nutrition for the Chautauqua County Home, a 216-bed skilled nursing home.

With a desire to continue in wrestling, he became the first coach at Fredonia High School and guided the program into a consistent winner. He was a wrestling official for 18 years and founded the Wrestling Officials Association of Chautauqua County in the 1960s. He also earned a black belt in karate and judo and taught self-defense courses in the Buffalo area.

He recently celebrated his 81st birthday. Ross and his wife Joanne have three daughters and three grandchildren. They have been married 55 years.