Springfield native Finney, member of Ohio State Final Four team, dies at 73

Finney holds two Ohio State records for free throw accuracy

Jody Finney, a Springfield native and 1966 South High School graduate who played for Ohio State’s 1968 Final Four team, died on Sunday at 73 following a brief illness.

The News-Sun named Finney the sixth greatest athlete in South High School history in 2008. A 6-foot-3 guard, he averaged 22.9 points per game as a senior at South in the 1965-66 season.

Finney scored 947 points in three seasons with the Buckeyes, averaging 6.7 points as a sophomore in the 1967-68 season. The Buckeyes finished 21-8 that season and lost to North Carolina in the Final Four before beating Houston in the third-place game. Finney led Ohio State with 16 points on 8-of-13 shooting in the loss to North Carolina.

Finney averaged 13.3 points per game in the 1968-67 season and then a career-best 20.7 points per game as a senior in the 1969-70 season.

Finney still holds the Ohio State record for single-season free throw percentage (90 percent, 99-110 in 1968-69). He also owns the second-best mark (119-134, 88.8 in 1969-70). He ranks third in school history in career free-throw percentage (86.2).

Explore» FEATURE: Finney talks about his life after basketball in 2011

The San Diego Rockets drafted Finney with the first pick of the fourth round in the 1970 NBA Draft. He was the 52nd player selected.

Finney served as a pastor at the Church of God for 50 years. He worked for Navistar for 32 years and then spent 17 years as a sports massage therapist.

According to his obituary, “Finney is survived by his wife of 53 years, Linda Lee (Clayton) Finney; children, Jo Lynn Finney (Brian) Ferguson, Jody R. (Cristina) Finney II, Jan Finney (Warren) Roberds, and Jami Finney (Wayne) Artuso; son-in-law, Alper Sarihan; 9 grandchildren, Alex, Drew and Jillian Sarihan, Brian II and Emma Ferguson, Danica, Joseph and Jocelyn Finney, and Eliana Artuso; brother, Jon (Sheila) Finney; and sister, Jackie Finney. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Jennifer Lee Sarihan in October 2020.”

A gathering of family and friends will take place from 4-8 p.m. Thursday at Littleton & Rue Funeral Home in Springfield. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in Finney’s memory to the Second Harvest Food Bank at 20 N. Murray St. in Springfield.

Credit: Staff photo by Marshall Gorby

Credit: Staff photo by Marshall Gorby

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