John Ference participated in football, basketball, and baseball, earning four letters from 1961-64. He was selected First Team Lake Erie League and Honorable Mention Northeast Ohio in football as a senior.
At age 16, he was awarded a football scholarship to Southern Illinois University. While at SIU, John started all five freshmen games and 30 varsity football games. As a varsity player, he set six reception records. (Receptions in a game - 13; season - 51; career 108; touchdowns in a game - 2; season - 5; career-11). He was voted captain in 1966 and 1967 and was the Most Valuable Player in 1965 and 1967 and the Most Inspirational Athlete in 1966. He finished his career with 1,324 receiving yards.
He was selected to the SIU All-Decade and All-Century team. After a brief stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, John taught and coached football and other sports in Berea and Rocky River from 1969 to 1985.