2007 Baseball team

2007 baseball team


On March 2, 2007, the Bluffton baseball team experienced an accident that forever changed the lives of the players, coaches, their family and friends and the Bluffton campus community. While traveling to Sarasota, Fla., the baseball team’s charter bus fell from an overpass in Atlanta, Ga., killing student-athletes David Betts (Bryan, Ohio); Scott Harmon (Lima, Ohio); Cody Holp (Arcanum, Ohio) and Tyler Williams (Lima, Ohio); and the bus driver and his wife. Twenty-eight others were injured. Student-athlete Zachary Arend (Oakwood, Ohio) died one week later.

That single moment changed lives. But from that moment, a sea of moments arose. Hundreds of thousands of moments when complete strangers lent a helping hand. Moments when friends, family and community members gathered to lean on one another. Moments when the Bluffton baseball players, coaches and campus community realized that an entire world outside of Bluffton was supporting them, praying for them, wishing them well.


These words were penned for the “Bluffton” magazine one year after the accident. They remain words that are no less true now than they were in 2007.

The 2007 team demonstrated remarkable courage and strength in responding to the accident including completing the 2007 baseball season under difficult circumstances. In 2010, the team was recognized by the NCAA with the Inspiration Award, presented “to a coach, administrator or athlete who, when confronted with a life-altering situation, showed perseverance, dedication and determination and now serves as a role model to give hope and inspiration to others.”

The team was the first team to be honored by the NCAA with this award and was recognized for their courage in returning to the baseball field only 28 days after the fatal bus crash. Of the 25 surviving student-athletes who were on the bus, 24 graduated. One left the university in 2008 to play minor-league baseball.

The Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act introduced by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) became law in 2012, and it was announced among other things, the legislation will require lap and shoulder belts in all new motocoaches beginning in November 2016. It also requires stricter qualifications for drivers and more stringent vehicle inspections.

This recognition is another way to remember the experiences of the 2007 team. While the events of that year must always be remembered as a tragedy, through the persistent advocacy of many, we are encouraged that required enhancements to motorcoach transportation safety will help prevent tragedies for other families.

In 2014, Advocates for the Highway and Auto Safety, a national non-profit advocacy organization, recognized the 2007 team and families with its Highway Safety Hero Award for leadership and determination to enhance motor coach safety. John and Joy Betts, parents of David Betts (1986-2007) attended the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., and accepted the award which is inscribed as follows:

25th Anniversary – Highway Safety Hero

Families of the Bluffton University Motorcoach Crash
In recognition for your contributions to savings lives,
Preventing injuries and making our roads safer.

June 18, 2014

The Hall of Fame committee voted unanimously to nominate and honor the 2007 team as the sole inductee in their first year of eligibility. All members of the team, including Zachary, David, Scott, Cody and Tyler and all managers and coaches were inducted as a team into the Bluffton University Athletics Hall of Fame on Feb. 18, 2017.  


1972 football team


1995-96 women’s basketball team


David Sheldon ’98

sheldon-cropDave Sheldon came to Bluffton from Wynford High School in Bucyrus, Ohio, and in his first college basketball season was the Association of Mideast Colleges’ Newcomer of the Year. He went on to become one of four Bluffton men’s basketball players to record at least 1,000 points—he scored 1,085—and 250 assists in their careers. In 2013, he remained atop the career assists list with 463. The two-year captain was also Bluffton’s leader in three-point field goals made in a game, twice with nine, and in a career, with 234.

sheldon-actionSheldon won the A.C. Burcky Award in 1998 as Bluffton’s outstanding senior male athlete and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a second major in sport management. After working in administration for the NBA’s Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, he moved into education as a teacher and athletic director in Bucyrus City Schools. Since 2005 he has been dean of students, athletic director and head boys’ basketball coach at Colonel Crawford High School. Sheldon holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Ashland University. He and his wife, Amy, live in Bucyrus with their daughter, Caroline.

Jennifer (Warren ’97) Quirk

Jennifer (Warren) QuirkJennifer Quirk, a graduate of Lakeland High School in LaGrange, Ind., was an all-conference singles player in all four years of tennis at Bluffton, where she had the highest winning percentage of any four-year women’s tennis athlete. She was team captain in 1996 and 1997, when she received the Kathryn E. Little Award as Bluffton’s outstanding senior female athlete. Off the court, she was a C. Henry Smith Scholar, a resident advisor and editor of Witmarsum, the student newspaper.

In 1998, Quirk earned a master’s degree in kinesiology from Indiana University—with concentrations in athletic administration and higher education personnel administration. She served as an administrator at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J. After three years as an academic adviser, she was promoted to assistant athletic director for academics. Chair of the Northeast Conference Academic Advisors from 2006-08, Quirk lives in Oakland, N.J., with her husband, Brian, and their children, Braden and Cameron.

Tennis team

2004 Women’s Track and Field


The 2004 women’s track and field team had an unprecedented success, going from a program that was perennially near the bottom of the conference, to one that was the dominant squad in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Along the way, the team was ranked in the Top 25 UTSCA National Power Rankings (indoor and outdoor), became HCAC team champions, won the Defiance College Yellow Jacket Invitational (outdoor) and defeated all the Division III teams at the Vanderbilt Spring Classic. Ten athletes still hold outdoor school records.

Seven event titles were won at the HCAC championships. Rita (Muether ‘06) Oakleaf was named HCAC Most Outstanding Female Track Athlete, Cindy Allan ‘07 earned HCAC Most Outstanding Female Freshman Athlete honors and Nate Smith was named HCAC Women’s Track and Field Coach of the Year.

This team holds the only women’s track and field conference championship in school history.





Todd Hafner ’84

Todd HafnerTodd Hafner was a dual-sport standout at Bluffton, earning the A.C. Burkey Award as the top senior male athlete in 1984. Hafner lettered in both tennis and football all four years. He was a 1983 NAIA District 22 All-American and a 1982 and 1983 District 22 1st Team defensive lineman. In 1983, Hafner was named the NAIA player of the week three times and was named the football team’s MVP. He finished the football program with a four-year tackle total of 426 stops.

Hafner graduated in 1984 with a degree in biology. He was the owner and operator of Hafner’s Hardwood Connection. Hafner shared his love of the game with children in the Toledo area where he coached cadet football for eight years. His team went undefeated for three seasons and was named city league champions for three seasons. In 1992, he was awarded the Catholic Youth Organization Outstanding Adult Contributor Award.

Hafner passed away at the age of 49 in 2012. He is survived by his wife, Lorie, and children, Lukas, Audrie and Madilyn.




Phil Krouskop ’65

Phillip Krouskop '65Phil Krouskop played football and baseball at Bluffton in the 1960s, but he is best known as Coach K due to his nearly four-decade coaching career at Perry High School. Krouskop compiled a record of 503-336 as head baseball coach of the Perry Commodores from 1968 to 2007.

During his 39 years of coaching high school baseball, he racked up six league titles, 24 sectional titles, seven district titles, four regional final berths, one regional championship and a state appearance in 1998. In 2011, Krouskop was inducted into the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame. The Perry High School baseball field was named in his honor in 2012.

Krouskop graduated from Bluffton in 1965 and earned degrees in social work and psychology. He was a member of the 1962 baseball and football teams that were previously inducted into the Bluffton Athletics Hall of Fame.

Krouskop stays active in retirement by volunteering. He reads to local youth at the Mizpah Community Center in Lima, tutors at Perry schools and is a volunteer custodian at his church.



Matt Creamer ’80

Matt CreamerMatt Creamer scored 43 points in a 1979 basketball game against Manchester College. The number still ranked as the fifth most in school history, 37 years later. That statistic—combined with an impressive career as both a player and a coach—are why Creamer is inducted into the Bluffton University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Creamer played at Bluffton from 1976 to 1980. He earned four letters and was selected captain for the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons. During the 1978-79 season, he was named to the All-Hoosier Buckeye Collegiate Conference 1st Team and All NAIA District 22.

Creamer’s head varsity coaching career spans 29 seasons, with stops at Lafayette Allen East (1983-85), Streetsboro (1985-90), Lima Senior (1992-96) and Massillon (1996-2011). He was also the head coach of the Florida Jades (1990-92) and the assistant coach of the Youngstown Pride (1988-90) in the World Basketball League. When inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016, he was serving as the head varsity boys coach at Canton Central Catholic.

Creamer graduated in 1980 with a degree in English education. He lives in Massillon, Ohio, and is married to Jill Creamer. They have two sons, Christian and Cameron.


Jennifer (Etzler ’95) Fledderjohann

Jennifer (Etzler ’95) Fledderjohann was named all-Association of Mideast Colleges in volleyball in 1993 and 1994—when Bluffton won the AMC title and qualified for the NCAA regional tournament—and in basketball in 1994-95.

Jennifer Fledderjohann

Hall of Fame class of 2015

She remained in the top 20 in several statistical categories in both sports, including, in basketball, tied for first in games played (102) and fifth in career assists (281) and, in volleyball, fourth in career assists (2,214) as of 2015.

Earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1995, the Fort Recovery, Ohio, native taught at New Knoxville School until 1997, then in Anna Local Schools from 1997-2004. She has been back at New Knoxville since 2007. Along the way, she has added a master’s degree in technology from the University of Dayton, and is pursuing her principal’s license through Concordia University in Chicago.

Fledderjohann was also a varsity volleyball coach for nine years, compiling an 83-20 record at Anna from 1997-2000 and an 83-39 mark at New Knoxville from 2004-08. Her 1998 and 1999 Anna teams reached the regional tournament. At New Knoxville, she was the Midwest Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2005, and the Rangers were state runners-up in 2006, when Fledderjohann received an achievement award from the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association.

2004 softball team

2004 Softball team

2004 Softball team

The 2004 softball team produced the largest turnaround in program history, improving to 26-8 from a 15-21 record the previous year. The 26 wins were the most by a Bluffton softball team in a season up to that time—and remain tied for the second-most—and the .764 winning percentage is still the single-season best as of 2015.

Coached by Holly Spann, the team was ranked in the top 10 nationally in NCAA Division III for most of the year.

In addition to throwing three no-hitters, Bluffton’s 2004 pitchers set school records for lowest earned run average (0.98), most strikeouts (283), most shutouts (11) and lowest opponents’ batting average (.158).

Sarah Betts ’06 was the conference’s Most Valuable Player, and Allison (Lange ’05) Bentley and Mandy (Snider ’05) Cutnaw joined her on the All-HCAC first team. Betts and Bentley were also named first-team all-region by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association/Louisville Slugger.

Bentley added second-team All-America honors, while Betts was a third-team All-America selection. She was a second-team Academic All-American as well, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Eric Worthington ’86

Eric Worthington was the first freshman to earn Bluffton cross country MVP honors, in 1982, and in track the following spring, he ran the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 10:07.24—a school record until Martin Russ broke it in 2014.

Eric Worthington '86

Eric Worthington ’86

He was a four-year letterman in cross country and an all-league selection twice. He also earned two letters in outdoor track and one in indoor track, and was a Varsity “B” member.

Continuing to run after college, Worthington has finished 13 marathons, including the 2000 Boston Marathon. For three years, he was assistant varsity cross country coach at Warsaw (Ohio) River View High School—where he graduated in 1982—and he has helped organize road races in the area.

Worthington, who graduated from Bluffton with a bachelor’s degree in recreation management, is a chemical process specialist at Organic Technologies, Coshocton, where he had worked for 15 years, at the time of his Athletics Hall of Fame induction. He and his wife, Susan, are residents of nearby Conesville, where he served on the village council for 10 years.

Tyson Goings ’01

Tyson Goings set the Bluffton football single-season rushing record with 1,487 yards in 2000. Also that year, he established the still-standing school mark for carries in a season (295) and scored 108 points, which ranks third on the single-season scoring list as of 2015.

Tyson Goings '01

Tyson Goings ’01

He was the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) on offense in 2000, when he was named first-team all-conference for the third straight year.

When he was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame, the Wayne Trace High School graduate holds the school career record for carries (853); is third in rushing yardage (4,291 yards, which also included 1,100-plus-yard seasons in 1998 and ‘99), points scored (286) and touchdowns (47); and fifth in pass receptions (105). He ran for at least 200 yards in four games in his career, and twice scored four touchdowns in one game.

Goings holds a Bluffton bachelor’s degree in recreation management and a master’s degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. A Licensed Professional Counselor in Ohio, he works as a social service specialist and school counselor for Lima City Schools. He is also running backs coach for the Lima Senior High School football team.

Ron Geiser

Ron Geiser, SID

Ron Geiser, SID

Ron Geiser, a Bluffton native and a 1961 Bowling Green State University graduate, is the second non-athlete or coach to enter the hall of fame, joining Dr. F.D. Rodabaugh.

Geiser was assistant SID or SID at four universities before coming to campus in 1968 as public information director. Over the next five years, he began compiling Bluffton men’s athletics records, wrote weekly news releases and distributed updated statistics sheets for most sports. He was also publicity director for the Mid-Ohio Conference for two years and, during its first two years, for the Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference. In 1971 and 1972, he was honored by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for outstanding printed programs for football.

While editor of the Bluffton News from 1974-78, Geiser assisted Bluffton’s athletics department in various ways, such as updating most men’s records. In 1978, he was named the first recipient of the Larry W. Jones Memorial Award for contributions to Bluffton athletics by a non-athlete.

He served as public information director/SID in 1984-85 and, during the 1985-90 football seasons, wrote news releases and provided a weekly stat sheet for the public information office. He covered football games for the Bluffton News and the Lima News; updated historical materials; and represented Bluffton as SID at its 1987 playoff game. He also assumed responsibility for men’s basketball statistics and updated men’s basketball records, among other related activities during that time.

Geiser was Bluffton’s director of information services and/or SID throughout the ‘90s. During that decade, he began updating statistics and historical records for all Bluffton men’s and women’s sports, and was publicity director for the Association of Mideast Colleges during its existence.

Geiser has also worked at the Bluffton Chapel of Chiles-Laman Funeral Homes and has been active in Bluffton’s First Mennonite Church. He and his wife, the late Arlene (Balmer) Geiser, have three children.

Bill Lape ’62

Bill Lape '62

Bill Lape ’62

Bill Lape ’62 was a first-team, all-Mid-Ohio League (MOL) halfback in 1960 and 1961, and remains in the top 10 in several Bluffton statistical categories for a game, a season and a career. A four-year starter and letter winner, from 1958-61, he played on three league-champion teams and was co-captain of the 1961 team. In 1962, he was the first recipient of the A.C. Burcky Award, presented annually to Bluffton’s top senior male athlete.

The West Chester, Ohio, resident led the MOL in scoring as a sophomore—when he received all-league honorable mention—a junior and a senior. He is tied for second on Bluffton’s single-game scoring list, with 24 points on four touchdowns against Defiance in 1961, and stands fifth on the career scoring list (236 points); sixth in career touchdowns (37); and 10th in single-season scoring (82 points in 1960). His rankings on career rushing lists include fourth in yards per carry, with a six-yard average, and ninth in career yardage, with 2,654 yards. *

Also a four-year letterman in track and president of Varsity B as a senior, Lape earned a bachelor’s degree in biology. He then played two years for the Cleveland Bulldogs of the former United Football League and taught middle school science for 11 years in Parma Heights, Ohio, and Cincinnati. In addition, he was head football and assistant basketball coach at Greenbriar Middle School in Parma Heights, and an assistant varsity football coach at his alma mater, Greenhills (now Winton Woods) High School, Cincinnati.

The father of two later worked for five years at Pat Matson’s Nautilus Fitness Centers in Cincinnati, and retired in 2006 after 26 years in sales manager and general manager positions in the automobile business. Also in Cincinnati, he has been involved with the Cincinnati Gospel Mission, Neediest Kids of All and Matthew 25 Ministries.

* school records as of 2014

Becky (Reineke ’98) Boblitt

Becky (Reineke '98) Boblitt

Becky (Reineke ’98) Boblitt

Becky (Reineke ’98) Boblitt ranks 10th in Bluffton women’s basketball career scoring, with 931 points from 1994-98. As a sophomore in 1995-96, she averaged a team-leading 13.8 points per game as Bluffton won 16 games—which remained a single-season school record in 2013—and the Association of Mideast Colleges (AMC) title. She was named first-team all-AMC and to its all-tournament team that season.

The Bluffton native also led the 1996-97 team in scoring, with a 13-point average, and as a senior the following year, the three-year letter winner earned all-Great Lakes Region honorable mention. Her 63 three-point field goals as a junior and 62 as a senior are second and third only to her 69 as a sophomore on Bluffton’s list of most three-pointers in a season. Her 194 career three-pointers represent a school record as well, and she is tied for the single-game record, twice sinking six treys in a game. *

In soccer, Boblitt is Bluffton’s career scoring leader, with 40 goals in three years, and co-holder of the mark for goals in a game, with five. She ranks second for goals in a season, with 14 both in 1995 and 1996. * She was first-team all-AMC in 1995 and a second-team selection in 1994.

Since earning her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1998, Boblitt has taught middle school and elementary art in McComb (Ohio) Local Schools. From 1999-2004, she was the girls’ varsity basketball coach at McComb, leading the Panthers to Blanchard Valley Conference co-championships and district titles in both 2001 and 2003. In 2003, she was named coach of the year in the conference, District 8, Northwest Ohio and Ohio Division IV.

Boblitt holds a master’s degree in education from Marygrove College and is active at First United Methodist Church in Bluffton, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their three children.

* school records as of 2014

Herbert W. Berky

Herbert W. Berky

“Prof” Berky coached men’s tennis
for more than three decades.

Herbert W. Berky joined Bluffton’s faculty in 1913 to establish the college’s first chemistry program.  A Princeton University graduate, Berky arrived with a strong belief in the value of a collegiate experience that combined academic excellence with intercollegiate athletics.

In his early years at Bluffton “Prof. Berky” coached a number of sports including, in 1921-22, football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball.  He was instrumental in developing Bluffton’s first athletic facilities including the 1916 fundraising campaign to construct “the Barn,” home to basketball and campus events.

In athletics, Berky is best known for coaching men’s tennis for more than three decades and faithfully maintaining the clay courts that were a campus landmark for many years.  His 45 year tenure included substantial contributions to athletics and science as indicated by the naming of Berky Science Hall.

Football team ’85

85footballAfter several seasons near the bottom of the Hoosier-Buckeye Conference, the 1985 Beavers, led by seventh-year head coach Carlin Carpenter, exploded onto the NAIA small college football scene with an 8-1 record and ended the season ranked 11th in the nation. The 1985 squad was the kick-start to a five-year span where Bluffton teams notched a 44-13 record and took two trips to the NAIA national playoffs and is now the first team from that era to be inducted into the Bluffton Athletic Hall of Fame.

The 1985 team broke or tied 14 season records and nine single game records. Many of those records were later broken by teams in that five year reign, but it’s the ’85 squad’s 34.9 point per game output is still the highest in school history and its 14.6 average point difference over its opponents is still fourth best all-time.

HBC and NAIA all-district awards went to offensive stars Carl Sonneberger (g), Ed Coleman (wr), Rich Gansheimer (wr), and Hugo Sandberg (k), while defensive standouts picking up the same awards were Derek Allen (dt), Bruce Gardner (lb) and Dave Hucke (db). Greg Gilcrease (rb) and John Harding (de) also picked up HBC honors while Carlin Carpenter was named the HBC coach of the year and the NAIA district 22 co-coach of the year. Quarterback Cliff Hemmert along with Coleman and Sandberg all set individual Bluffton records.

Football team ’88

1988 football team in 2001

1988 football team in 2001

Without question one of the most talented and successful team to ever play football at Bluffton, the 1988 squad posted a perfect 9-0 regular season and finished the season 10-1 and ranked 13th in the country.

The 1988 season capped off a 32-7 four-year overall record for the 14 members of the senior class who guided the Beavers to their first ever post-season appearance as juniors in 1987 before suffering a heartbreaking loss to Geneva College. Records fell in almost every game in 1988 as Bluffton established 75 team and individual records, many of which still stand today.

The regular season included many memorable victories, beginning with a 30-6 season-opening victory over Tiffin, which was the 200th victory in the history of Bluffton football. Mid-season blowouts included a 62-20 win at Manchester in which the Beavers scored on nine of 10 possessions in the game, a 34-0 shutout of Waynesburg 34-0 the next week and finally a 63-6 homecoming win over Anderson which set the school scoring record. The following week, Bluffton ended a seven-game winless streak at Hanover with a 40-21 win, then ended the season with a forfeit win over Wilmington and a 17-7 decision at Defiance.
Bluffton entered the playoffs at 10-0 Cumberland College and walked away with a historic 30-14 win. Eventual NAIA Division II national champion Westminster College ended Bluffton’s season the following week, however, with a 40-7 win over the Beavers.
The 1988 squad outscored its opponents by an average 17.5 points per game (third best all time), and held school records for most wins in a season (10), most road wins (5), most points scored (375), most plays (799), most yards (4,562), most touchdowns (50), most kicking points (65), most conversion points (44), most rushing plays (614) and turnover ratio (+21).

Head Coach Carlin Carpenter was named the NAIA District 22 Coach of the Year, while ten players earned first team honors, including Chris Dales (g), Andy Nowlin (wr), Darrin Gates (te), Cliff Hemmert (qb), Roger Gilanyi (rb) and Greg Gilcrease (rb) on the offensive side and Sly Hubbard (de), Todd Buschur (lb), Bruce Gardner (lb) and Jesse Williams (db) on the defensive side. Honorable mention awards were given to Jim Tabler (g), Rob Hayden (dt), Shawn Hertzfeld (db), Dave Ward (k) and Darryl Gard (rb).

Gates, Gilcrease, Gilanyi, Ward and Hubbard earned honorable mention All-America status.

James “Spike” Berry ’60

James “Spike” Berry quarterbacked Bluffton’s football team to four Mid-Ohio League championships, and he earned 10 letters in three Bluffton sports—just as he had at Bluffton High School.

He went on to a successful career as head football coach at nearby Cory-Rawson High School, where his teams won 10 Blanchard Valley Conference championships and were undefeated six times.

Berry’s 1968 Hornets were designated as Class A state champions after going unbeaten and unscored upon. He was named Ohio Class A Coach of the Year, as well as Northwest District Class A Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and United Press International.

He coached in Ohio all-star games in 1969 and 1978, and was director of the Ohio-Pennsylvania high school all-star game in 1975. He also served as president of the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.

Lloyd Ramseyer ’24

l_ramseyerThe late Lloyd Ramseyer, who first distinguished himself at Bluffton as “Tank,” was a left tackle on Bluffton’s team which went through a whole season undefeated. The great H.W. Berky-coached team of 1921 played one game that year on Armistice Day and trimmed the University of Toledo, 14-0, on a soggy, snowy field. The Ista yearbook records “Ramseyer, at tackle, was the outstanding star of the game but the whole team and Coach Berkl_ramseyer_helmety are to be congratulated.”

The board ruled out football in the fall of 1922. Ramseyer’s restless energies found other channels that year. The Ista records him to be an “irrepressible spirit,” “a mighty man,” “he has business ability and used it very effectively as business manager of the junior play and the Ista. Tank has lots of pep and his support back of a proposition means success. Besides he would play a bang-up game of football if he had the chance.”

His interests included being in the Vesper Choir, class officer, on the Y cabinet, president of the Illinois club and a varsity debater. l_ramseyer_book

Football was restored in the fall of 1923 with a four game schedule. Ramseyer was captain and A.C. Burcky was coach. It was a building year, with one win and three losses.






Kathryn Little ’61

The late Kathryn Little was an instructor in physical education at Bluffton from 1956-59 and again in 1965-73. She illustrates the story of coaching and teaching at Bluffton, moving gracefully from the rk_littleole of student-coach to full time teacher-coach. Little combined college study with teaching and coaching and with the multiple arts of homemaking and a variety of community activities.

In high school at Leipsic she earned three letters in basketball and was selected to the All County team. Years later she coached the women’s teams in basketball, volleyball and softball in the revival of these intercollegiate sports. She is one of the unsung heroines of that movement coming to national recognition through the efforts of Billy Jean King and others. However, leaf through the pages of old Ista yearbooks and one finds a significant plane given to women’s sports on the Bluffton campus, the activities of the women’s varsity B and the women’s hiking club.k_little_jacket

Little reflected the balance which characterized Bluffton’s athletic spirit and tradition. An able student, winning Pi Delta honors as an undergraduate, she reflected thoroughness and quality in the classroom. She organized a broadly-based intramural program for women. She opened up an intercollegiate sports program for women. She worked with cheerleaders in the intricacies of the cheerleading art and served on hundreds of committees which serve behind the scenes of Homecomings, May Days and special campus events.

Little and her family symbolized by their activities and interests that athletics is not just a series of spectator sports where you play hard in high school and college and then sit out the rest of your life on the stands or in front of the TV. Her avid love of tennis and other “lifetime sports” affirms the importance of sports and recreation in the whole man and woman.

Little died in 2005.

Elbert Dubenion ’59

In his four yearsElbert Dubenion at Bluffton, Elbert Dubenion, gained 4,734 yards rushing and averages 9.4 yards a carry. In 1960 he joined the Buffalo Bills for the first season of the American Football League. In his eight year career he caught 294 passes for 5,294 yards and 35 touchdowns. In one stretch, from 1961 to 1964, he caught passes in 42 consecutive games. A sportswriter wrote that he was “the most popular man on the team.”

Dubenion was a team man at Bluffton. As one who could have made any Big Ten team, Dubenion gave the Bluffton teams of those years the touch of the invincible. Opponents could not believe that these players were drawn to Bluffton without the allurements of athletic scholarships.Buffalo Bills

Many stories can be told about Dubenion. One of his many admirers tells of a neighboring team psyching itself up in the pre-game warm-ups with the chant: “get Dubenion…get Dubenion…get Dubenion…get Dubenion.” That day it was touchdown Dubenion…touchdown Dubenion…touchdown Dubenion…touchdown Dubenion. Four touchdowns, 270 yards, 27 yards a carry.

Theree_dubenion_jerseys is also the story of the injured Dubenion, sitting on the bench with Bluffton trailing. At halftime Dubenion asked Coach Ken Mast whether he could suit up. He went in for one play, scored the winning touchdown and returned to the bench, his day’s work done.






A.C. Burcky ’22

Andrew Burcky has bac-burcky-plaqueeen both a coach and a legend. He was not “a” coach but “the” coach. Burcky out lasted, out lived, out story-told all college coaches in the Midwest.

Out of the cornfields of Illinois, from a place called Tiskilwa, he came to Bluffton at the end of World War I to be one of the craftiest baseball players in Bluffton’s history. One reads in the Ista of how this boy wonder, “Ziggy had the opposing batter eating out of his hands” or, even in defeat, “Ziggy pitched a stellar game but his support went fishing.”ac-burcky-hof

He was from 1922 on through the 20s, 30s and 40s a one man athletic department. He coached football, basketball, baseball, tennis, track, women’s basketball, taught all the physical education courses, served as trainer, was equipment manager and purchasing agent, directed the crews lining the field, handled publicity, arranged schedules, drove one of the cars loaded with players to away games and comforted the afflicted – all this without benefit of box to bench telephones, game films and assistant coaches.

There have been ac-burcky-hatlean year and great years, like the 1924 basketball season with a 7-1 record in conference play and the first championship; the 1932 football season with the first championship; and one cannot forget about the great football team of 1936.

The addition to Founders Hall is named in Burcky’s honor. Coach Burcky’s wit and gift for story telling has endeared him to generations of Bluffton students. In the highly competitive world of intercollegiate sports he has embodied in his 44 years career at Bluffton the qualities of fairness, respect and integrity – every bit of him being professional.



Emery Sears ’28

The late Emery Sears, a 1928 graduate, lettered in football, basketball and track at Bluffton. He majored in biological sciences and was a regular on the college honor roll and vice president of he_searsis senior class.

After graduation, Sears was a high school principal and athletics coach. He received a master’s degree from the University of Iowa and was a board member for three corporations and a state realtor for Farm Bureau.e_sears_cleat

Sears was also a Sunday school teacher and superintendent in the Mennonite church.

Kenneth Mast

Kenneth Mast coached four sports at Bluffton—football, basketball, track and golf—from 1951-67. While many men have coached at Bluffton, he seemed to have that special gift of establishing rapport with his players and getting them to work to their fullest potential.k_mast_trophyk_mast2

Commenting on his years at Bluffton, Mast stated “Bluffton was a way of life for me and my family. Aside from the many thrilling victories and championships we shared at Bluffton, the thrill of assisting a dedicated faculty and being able to touch the lives of scores of students can never be measured.”

For a time, Mast was the winningest coach in football and track at Bluffton. He also coached its championship basketball team in 1964.

Mast, who started the Bluffton golf program, was also head golf pro at Lost Creek Country Club in Lima, Ohio, and played in many tournaments, spreading his name—and Bluffton’s—throughout Ohio.



Hugh Frost ’51

The late Hugh Frost graduated in 1951 with a major in social science. Hugh attended Rayen High School in Youngstown, Ohio, and served in his community for many years after graduation.h_frost

As a student at Bluffton, letters were earned in basketball, football, track and baseball. While his sports activities were varied, most remember Hugh as a football standout. Pro scouts also recognized his ability with tryout offers coming from the Los Angeles Rams, Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Colts.

When Frost was asked what Bluffton meant to him, he responded, “it was gratifying that emphasis was placed on implementah_frost_certtion of religious beliefs and the development of personal relationships.” He added, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

His involvement in civic activities was wide spread, including serving as vice president of the Ohio Affirmative Action Officers Association. He served as alumni president, advisory committee and Board of Trustee member of Bluffton. In 1967 Hugh was the Republican candidate for mayor of Youngstown, Ohio.

He was recognized in 1974 by the Youngstown State University Student Government Services Award committee for outstanding service provided to the student body of the university. In 1970 Frost was honored by Bluffton with the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Frost died in 1998.

Roger Bixel ’58

Roger Bixel is honored for his accomplishments while serving as head football coach from 1971 to 1974 at Bluffton. It was under his leadership that Bluffton won its first football champir_bixel-3onship in the Hoosier Buckeye Collegiate Conference.

While most people remember his accomplishments as a football and baseball coach, Bixel also earned 11 letters while attending Bluffton as a football, basketball and baseball player. This represents a number of letters that not many have accomplished in their college careers. He also served co-captain for two years under Coach Mast.

Reflecting on his years at Bluffton as a student and faculty member Bixel made the following statement. “I deeply appreciate the numerous opportunities and experiences provided me during my years at Bluffton. Especially the personal relationships and friendships developed among students, players, coaches and faculty. Wins, losses, individual records and performances may be forgotten, but the friendships and personal relationships are permanent memories.”

Bixel’s game of the past as a player or coach could be talked about forever. However, he is honored as a model of what Bluffton would hope every student who graduates could follow. His consistent values and treatment of athletes as individuals is a goal that many coaches strive for but only a few achieve.

Wilbur Berkey ’33

The late Wilbur Berkey is honored for his accomplishments in baseball and basketball at Bluffton. However, he had many contributions to the community of Smithville, Ohio. He was a social studies teacher from 1935 to 1963 and a basketball coach from 1937 to 1961. He was a high school principal from 1941 to 1951 and also served Smithville High School as an athletic director.

Berkey had many contributions to Smithville but his contributions to Bluffton have also been appreciated. For many years he provided through his trophy business the fourth year Beaver trophy award. He has influenced untold numbers of prospective students to attend Bluffton. 

Berkey was recognized by the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches Association in 1975 for his contributions to Ohio sports. Among his innovations was the County All Star game from which the proceeds were given to a Wayne County charity. In 1945 he started one of the first basketball coaching schools now famously known as the Northern Ohio Basketball Coaching School.

Berkey had been president of the Wayne County Education Association and appointed by the NEA to a National conference on fitness for secondary schools.

Berkey died in 1997.

William Williams ’30

William Williams was thew_williams first athlete to be inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame posthumously. He earned 11 Bluffton letters—four each in baseball and basketball and three in football. He was all-conference in basketball for three years and was a basketball and baseball team captain.

Probably the greatest tribute to Williams was the fact that former Coach A.C. Burcky placed him as one of the top athletes on his listw_williams_action of deceased men who deserved recognition in the hall of fame.

Williams spent his post-Bluffton career in education as a teacher, coach, principal, counselor, curriculum director, athletics director and associate professor.


Charles Spencer ’56

Charles “Choo Choo” Spencer graduatedc_spencer from Bluffton in 1956 with a music major and a physical education minor. He is recognized for his accomplishments in football, in which he earned All-Mid-Ohio League honors, and in track. c_spencer_action

Coach A.C. Burcky explained that the nickname “Choo Choo” was the result of Spencer’s football exploits because it generally took two players to stop him—one to wing him and the other to bring him down. Spencer loved to return punts like a train, which also helped earn him the moniker.

His athletic talents were balanced with his musical talents. He was able to place athletics and music in a meaningful relationship during his student days and continued to do so as he taught vocal music and coached football at Dayton Dunbac_spencer_cleatr High School.



James Gratz ’50

James Gratz, a Bluffton High School graduate, received seven collegiate letters in football, basketball and baseball.

j_gratzGratz was a teacher and coach in many Bluffton-area high schools before becoming an associate professor of health, physical education and recreation at Manchester College. He also served Manchester as athletics director, head wrestling and baseball coach, and an assistant football coach.

Gratz earned the unofficial title of “Father of the Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference.” Under his leadership as president of the conference, which then consisted of only Indiana colleges, Bluffton and three other Ohio colleges were invited to consider memberj_gratz_equipmentship in the renamed HBCC. He was the conference wrestling Coach of the Year in 1970 and, beginning in 1971, was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Executive Committee.

In 1966, 1967 and 1969, he was selected by fellow coaches to lead the Indiana Boys Club North Football All Stars.




Walter Diehl ’37

The late Walter Diehl was a 1937 graduate with a major in social science. Diehl played football, basketball, track and baseball. He earned all-conference and honorable mention all-state honors in football, anw_diehld was a member of conference championship baseball teams in 1936 and 1937.

Off the playing fields, he was Student Senate president, May Day chair and voted as Most Popular Man.

Diehl worked for the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services for 35 years and also performed community service in Youngstown.


Vernon Conrad ’28

The late Vernon Conrad, known to his friends as “Vern,” graduated from Bluffton in 1928 with a major in economics. He was a four-year letterman in football and track.v_conrad

Speaking about Conrad’s football accomplishments, Coach A.C. Burcky said “his reverse from the single-wing flank spot soon established him as the man to watch. Toledo and Bowling Green were in the league when Conrad played,v_conrad_tracktrophy and the games were no particular powder puff deals. Perhaps that is why he could run so fast. He had to run fast or get crushed, as he weighed about 160 pounds. Whatever anyone could do, Conrad could do better.”

In track, Conrad ran the 100- and 220-yard dashes and was the mile relay anchor man. “To balance out his day, he would high jump and broad jump,” Burcky added. “If this was not enough for one day, he would then help in other events if we were short an entry or if he could pick up a point.”

James Vogelgesang ’36

The late James Vogelgesang characterized what a man can do in athletics and what athletics can do for a man. His accomplishments in athletics, over a long and distinguished career, were as diversified as a man can achieve in his field of endeavor.j_vogelgesangj_vogelgesang_cleat

After graduating from the Lima school system, Vogelgesang attended Ohio State University and competed in both football and track. He was runner-up in the 1932 Ohio State pentathlon competition. Bluffton beckoned in 1934, and he participated in football, basketball and track under Coach A.C. Burcky. He served as captain of both the track and football teams.

His subsequent career in teaching and coaching spanned the years 1936-76. Tenure in the Lima, Cridersville and Shawnee public schools over those years included positions as varsity football, track and golf coach; faculty manager; supervisor of health and physical education; athletics director; and superintendent of schools.j_vogelgesang_gavel-1

Vogelgesang also had a distinguished career in officiating football, track and basketball from 1937-72. He officiated the state high school basketball finals, was a Mid-American Conference football official for 17 years and, in 1969, was president of the Ohio Association of Football Officials.

Vogelgesang died in 2000.


F.D. Rodabaugh

The late Franklin Rodabaugh was never an outstanding participant in any athletic event. He never made a 90-yard run for a winning touchdown, shot a winning basket in the final seconds of a basketball game or hit a home run with the bases loaded. But he made many important plays in tending to the Bluffton Beavers as team physician.f_rodabaugh

Rodabaugh served his country as a medical officer during World War II and was a recipient of the Legion of Merit. He was commended for outstanding and meritorious service and attention to duty while serving from January-September 1945. He served in then-Indochina for two and a half years.

Following World War II, he established his medical practice in Bluffton. His practice touched the lives of many area residents becaf_rodabaugh_suppliesuse of his interest in the welfare of the person as he served as the community’s “family doctor.”

Rodabaugh was supportive of and dedicated to those whose function was to promote a better Bluffton community. He was an active member of First United Methodist Church, serving as a trustee, lay leader and administrative board chair. He was also a member of the Bluffton Lions Club—serving in various capacities, including the presidency—and of the advisory council to the Bluffton Board of Trustees. He was president of the Allen County Board of Health for several years as well.

Richard Gratz ’50

Richard Gratz played basketball at Bluffton, leading the team in scoring in 1948 and 1949.

He was later a teacher and coach at the former McGuffey and Harrod high schools; a teacher at Lima Bath; a teacher and counselor at Lima Central Junior High; and a dean and assistant principal at Lima Senior High School.

He was also a high school basketball referee who officiated games at the state level. He participated in state basketball tournaments, too, as a Bluffton High School student in 1940 and 1942.

According to Gratz, “sports have always been an important part of my life, but not the ultimate interest. Many friendships were acquired and, in retrospect, many games were played with equipment and conditions which youth of today would rebel against. But it was a time of pulling together and learning about teamwork in a greater sense than perhaps today. They are now simply good memories.”

Ivan Geiger ’32

The late Ivan Geiger grgeiger_iaduated from Bluffton in 1932 with a degree in biological science. As a college athlete, he earned three varsity letters in football and track and one in basketball, and received All-Northwest Ohio Conference honors in football. He was also active in swimming and water polo for three years.

He entered The Ohio State University for additional training in health and physical education, which led to a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1933. He continued his studies in the Ohio State graduate school and earned a master’s degree in health and physical education.i_geiger

Geiger started his coaching and physical education career in Van Buren, Ohio, where he coached football and basketball and taught health and physical education from 1933-37. He then served as director of athletics and physical education at Van Buren until 1942.

In high school, Geiger won three letters in football and two each in basketball and track. He was captain of the football and track teams his senior year.


Ed Tice ’52

Edward Tice earned six Bluffton letters in baseball, football and basketball. He was captain of the baseball team and, during his senior year, was batting over .700 before ending the year just below that mark.e_tice-1

Tice has taught fifth and sixth grade—a career he chose over an offer to play professional baseball.

He has been a member of Deep Run Mennonite Church, Perkasie, Pa., where he has been the Sunday school superintendent ane_tice_gloved a teacher, trustee and deacon. Tice has also belonged to the National and Pennsylvania State Education associations.

“Participation in sports at Bluffton was a thoroughly enjoyable experience,” he said. “Athletes and coaches stressed cooperation, team play and growth as individuals, rather than winning. This attitude, which embodied fairness and team play, has been a part of my life since college.”

Roland Swank ’29

The late Roland “Rollie” Swank was captain of the 1928 football team and was chosen as right end on the Northwest Ohio Conference first team from 1926-28. He earned 12 letters overall, four each in football, basebr_swankall and basketball.

A graduate of Bluffton High School, Swank was voted best all-around boy in 1925 and was senior class president.

Until 1968, Swank served as junior high, then high school, teacher, coach and principal before becoming superintendent of Elida Schools. He also coached football, basketball and baseball.

Swank was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Elida, where he was a trustee for three years. He was also a memr_swank_signber of a national association of school administrators and served three and a half years in World War II, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

Swank said “my experiences at Bluffton have taught me the value and meaning of real dedication as shown by Coach Burcky and many of my professional colleagues. The fine moral tone of campus life set many values that have stuck with me.”

Mack Scaffer ’33

The late Mack Schaffer played football and baseball at Bluffton while earning his bachelor’s degree in science education. He received his master’s degree in chemistry and education from Miami University, attended Indiana and Bowling Green universities and received a doctoral degree in school administration in 1965. He added a Ph.D. in school administration from Bowling Green State University in 1970.m_schaffer

Schaffer began his teaching and coaching career at Leipsic (Ohio) Junior High School, coaching both boys’ and girls’ basketball for three years. He then moved to nearby Columbus Grove, where he taught high school chemistry and physics for eight years and served as baseball coach and assistant high school principal. He went on to be a supervisor for Putnam County Schools.

Schaffer also remained active in sports as a football and basketball official in the high school, college and professional ranks. He officiated in 15 Ohio high school basketball tournaments, the last 10 in succession. He also acted as the state basketball rules interpreter for 18 years and was a member of the National Federation Basketball Rules Advisory Committee for 15 years. He served a one-year term on the state athletic board of control, in 1972, and was a member of the Northwest District High School Athletic Board.

He also served five years in the Navy during World War II and was discharged as a lieutenant commander.

“As a school man, I have held a great deal of respect for Bluffton,” Schaffer said. “The moral, religious and academic training I received from Bluffton certainly shaped my life.”



Dale Reichenbach ’41

The late Dale “Rick” Reichenbach earned four letters in tennis and three in basketball at Bluffton. He was undefeated one year as the Beavers’ top tennis player.

Reichenbach, who earned a masted_reichenbach-1r’s degree in education from Bowling Green State University in 1952, was an educator for 36 years, eventually becoming principal of Midview High School.

As a high school basketball coach at Montgomery Local Schools, Grand Rapids and Elyria, Reichenbach accumulated an overall record of 346-100. At Grand Rapids, he coached his team to four league championships and the Ohio Class B championship in 1951. He coached nine Elyria teams to the regional tournament and three to the state tournament, with one state title.d_reichenbach_clipping

Reichenbach, who died in 2001, was the Associated Press Class AA Coach of the Year in 1959 and coached the North All-Star team to victory over the South All-Stars in 1961. He was inducted into the Elyria Sports and the Ohio High School Basketball Coaches halls of fame.

“At Bluffton, athletics taught me to realize the importance of team effort, leadership and dedication, and the need to live harmoniously with others in a sometimes conflicting and highly emotional setting. The ultimate satisfaction is to take these lessons and use them in solving problems of everyday life,” Reichenbach said.


Orville Augsburger ’26

The late Orville “Broadax” Augsburger earned nine letters at Bluffton while playing basketball, baseball, football and track.

He ran on a winning traco_augsburger2k relay team with Dwight Salzman, donor of the Athletics Hall of Fame. In his freshman and sophomore years, he was the top point-scorer in his events—the 100- and 220-yard dashes, plus the discus and broad jump.o_augsburger_old

Augsburger was the owner of a hardware implement dealership for 40 years until he retired in 1966. He was a member of Boynton Mennonite Church, Hopedale, Ill., where he was church treasurer for 30 years. Augsburger also belonged to the Lions and Civic clubs and was chair of the Tazewell County TB Board and a director of the Hopedale bank.

“While at Bluffto_augsburger_ribboncropon, I acquired the ability to meet people and made a large circle of friends,” Augsburger said. “As a result, I kept in touch with the general athletic program as well as with the entire program.”








Alva Tetlow ’39

The late Alva “Chet” Tetlow, co-captain of the 1938 football team, earned 13 letters at Bluffton in football, basketball, baseball and track. He never failed to win the pole vault event in his college career. He also set_alvarved as president of the Varsity B Club.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in education, Tetlow turned to teaching and coaching at such schools as Meeker, Salem, West Branch, North Jackson and Sebring, where he led the 1955 football team to an undefeated tri-county championship. In addition to football, Tetlow coached basketball, baseball, track, soccer and golf, and he taught social studies, English, geography and physical education. He was inducted into the Sebring High School Hall of Fame in 1976.

Affiliated with the United Methodist Church, Tetlow served as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent. He was also a chaperon for the 1978 European tour of “America’s Youth in Concert,” an international choral and orchestra association.

“Bluffton College influenced me in many, many ways,” Tetlow said. “Fine people like Coach Burcky and his wife, Dr. Ramseyer, Russell Lantz, H.W. Berky, Agnes Amstutz and M’della Moon were extremely inspirational to me. I know that I am a better person—athletically, academically, religiously, socially—for having attended Bluffton, sharing four years with so many wonderful people.”

Tetlow died in 1999.

Willis Taylor ’58

Willis “Willie” Taylor earned seven letters in track and football at Bluffton, where he was selected All-Mid-Ohio League three years and all-Ohio one year.

A social service graduate, Taylorw_taylor served his community as a social worker in such capacities as case worker, intensive caseworker, mental health consultant and team leader for Community Mental Health, where he also served as coordinator of transitional services, senior w_taylor_actionmental health planner and clinical director.

A member of the Ohio and National associations of Social Workers, Taylor has also been treasurer of his church and president of a community organization in Youngstown.

“My four years at Bluffton helped me to think and make crucial decisions for myself,” Taylor said. “It assisted me in understanding how individuals interact, personally and formally, with each other. Bluffton made me aware of the demands I had tow_taylor_doll put on myself and to think and act independently. Bluffton College offered me an opportunity to participate in pursuing a higher education and ultimately a career in social work.”

Ted Cunningham ’30

Theodore W. “Ted” Cunningham earned letters in football, basketball, tennis and baseball.

Cunningham was captain of the e_tice-11929 football team and was named to the all-league team from 1927-29.  At one time, he held Bluffton records for the longest punt return for a touchdown (90 yards against Findlay in 1928) and the most passes intercepted in one game (five against Cedarville in 1926).

Cunningham was also selected for the all-league basketball team in 1927 and 1928 and, in tennis, was league singles champion in 1927, 1928 and 1930, as well as team captain in 1928 and 1930.  He was president of Varsity B in 1929 and 1930.t_cunningham_fb

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in biology, Cunningham turned to teaching and coaching in Ohio public schools, where he served for 41 years until retiring in 1971.

After teaching and coaching football and basketball at Painesville junior high and high schools, Cunningham spent 24 years as a biology teacher and later assistant principal at Lakewood High School. He served as biology department chair from 1943-60. While at Lakewood, he received the Outstanding Science Teacher Award for Northeastern Ohio (1960), was selected a Fellow of the Ohio Academy of Science (1961) and was listed in “Leaders in Science” (1963). He also coached varsity baseball for two years—guiding his team to a co-championship of the Greater Cleveland League in 1938—and junior high football for 23 years, with a record of 106-40, plus 13 ties.

“When I came to Bluffton College, it nurtured and strengthened my beliefs, which have been the strength and wisdom of my life,” Cunningham said.

Mary Lou (Fretz ’70) Roush

Mary Lou (Fretz) Roush earned 11 Varsity B letters as a Bluffton student and was named Outstanding Senior Woman Athlete. During her college career, she played volleyball, basketball, softball and tennis.m_rousch (1)

It was in tennis that she excelled. She held an undefeated match record during her playing career and led the women’s tennis team to an undefeated record.

She was also a member of the Pi Delta honorary, and traveling was part of her busy schedule. “As a student, I was fortunate to pm_rousch_trophyarticipate in two Mennonite study tours of several foreign countries, including Colombia and Zaire. I was with the A Cappella choir tour of Europe during the summer of 1970. Attending Bluffton provided the opportunity not only for me to meet most all students on campus, but also to develop lasting friendships with classmates, faculty and staff,” she said.

After earning a degree in elementary education in 1970, she served as an admissions counselor for Bluffton, then a lecturer in and director of the Professional Introduction to Education Program at Ohio State University’s Lima campus. She has also been a developmental reading teacher for Owens Technical, now Community, College and an elementary reading specialist in the Washington Local Schools, both near Toledo.

Ralph Locher ’36

The late Ralph Locher graduated from Bluffton High School and was an active member of the First Mennonite Church. A football player at Bluffton College, he received his bachelor’s degree in history in 1936. He then studied law at Western Reserve Law School in Cleveland, earning his law degree in 1939. In 1945 he was named secretary of the Industrial Commission of Ohio, where he served until 1953.r_locher

A 10-year member of Bluffton’s Board of Trustees, Locher was also a representative to the Council of State Governments. He served as a member of the board of the National League of Cities and was involved with the Central YMCA of Cleveland board.

“Bluffton taught me to appreciate the meaning of a sense of values,” Locher said.r_locher_buttons

A.C. Burcky, Locher’s football coach, remembered him well. “He meant business all the time he played. He was a dandy fellow and a good, solid player.”

The 1935 Ista yearbook lists Locher as “a big, rugged forward,” and he and two teammates were honored in the 1936 Ista: “We pay due respects for the fine spirit of sportsmanship that they have displayed while under the Beaver colors and to the fine brand of ball that they have played. Some outstanding plays will stand out in our memories which will bring back the days when these players kept vigil beside the Beaver hut.”

Locher died in 2004.

Dietrich Rempel ’29

Today, the late Dietrich “Dick” Rempel is known for his industrial design innovations, including the system that revolutionized the process of making rubber products. When he was at Bluffton, however, he was noted as a 203-pound tackle who wouldn’t stop until he had his man.d_rempel

Rempel fled Russia in 1923, following that country’s revolution. Although he, his three sisters and a brother escaped, his parents and two brothers died. After working on a farm in Pennsylvania, he joined his uncle in California. He did not let his new country nor new language handicap him. He graduated from high school in less than the usual required time and, when he came to Bluffton, he played in the first football game he saw. He played tackle for the Beavers and was second-team all-conference his senior year. He also ran track.d_rempel_info

Coach A.C. Burcky remembered one incident when Bluffton traveled north to play Bowling Green. “I told Rempel that when we kicked off, we had to get the man who was carrying the ball,” recalled Burcky. “In this particular game, we kicked off and Rempel was hit by a blocker. Before we realized what was happening, he literally picked up the blocker, tossed him aside and went after the ball carrier!”

Off the field, Rempel’s love was working with Dr. John P. Klassen and studying sculpture. Rempel’s final piece was “Horse and Fallen Rider,” which portrays a Cossack’s charger mourning over his fallen master. It was accepted for exhibit by the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and today is on display in the Musselman Library.

In 1929 he grad_rempel_brochureduated and became a United States citizen.  He went to New York and attended the Master Institute of Roerich Museum–The School of United Artists, and was a student in the life class in the department of sculpture of the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design.

In 1946 he started Rempel Manufacturing Inc. The business started with the production of three rubber toy animals, designed and molded from clay by Rempel. They were made with the revolutionary rubber processing system that created seamless rubber products.  He has since obtained numerous patents and copyrights for his industrial designs.

According to Rempel, two Bluffton teachers greatly affected his life. “Dr. Klassen inspired me, and much that I have done is because of his teachings. Of course, I enjoyed playing football.  Coach Burcky is a great person, and I learned through him how to lose gracefully.”


Harrold Johnson ’35

The late Harrold Johnson, a graduate of Dalton High School, had worked for three years in the steel mills of Canton before coming to Bluffton. He played sandlot football and baseball in Wayne and Stark counties and for a time played on the semipro Canton Bulldogs football team. h_johnson

“I had been used to a rather rough and tumble type of life,” Johnson recalled. “My first thought of Coach Burcky was that he didn’t know much about football. I soon learned I was very, very wrong. His great sincerity and understanding had a great influence on my lifeh_johnson_clipping.”

A.C. Burcky remembered how he could always count on Johnson. As a freshman, he was noted for playing every position at one time or another. The following year he settled into the center position, which he held for three years. He was also team captain for two years.

In addition to football, Johnson was an excellent pitcher, according to Burcky, who claims Johnson was confident in his ability as every good pitcher should be.

Johnson, who had no idea he would ever graduate, did so in 1935 with a degree in biology.

While he gave credit to many for helping and guiding him at Bluffton, he acknowledged Burcky as having the greatest lasting influence. “He taught me the importance of being a gentleman while playing as hard as I knew I could. I respect him as much as anyone I have known in my life,” says Johnson.

Following his graduation, he taught and coached for six years in the Dalton and Orrville schools. In 1945 he joined the Will-Burt Co., where he retired in 1975 as vice president. He was a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Orrville, the Exchange Club and the Chamber of Commerce; a charter member of the Orrville United Way; and former secretary of the Orrville-Wayne Industrial Council.

James Miller ’39

Frankly, for the late James Miller, it all boiled down to money. Since he lived in Bluffton, he was able to live at home and go to college while working at Triplett Corp. for 25 cents an hour.

j_millerStill, Miller found time to play two of his favorite sports, football and baseball. The Varsity B member played for all four years of college. His sophomore year was the highlight of his football career, with the team ending the season 4-1-2. He was noted as a diminutive but elusive back with much determination. By the time he graduated, he had earned eight sports letters.

In addition to earning letters, he was learning valuable lessons for life. “One of the most important lessons I learned while attending Bluffton College and playing for Coach Burcky was that in life you need to learn to play with the hand you are dealt—to do with what you have—and if you do learn this, you’ll probably win more than your fair share of life’s prizes,” he said.

Miller recalled a tremendous amount of negative thinking throughout the country during the Depression years, yet he graduated from Bluffton with a positive attitude. “I think Coach Burcky is largely responsible for this attitude. He had little to deal with—money, equipment, talent—yet he made you feel that there was always a chance.”

In addition to his studies, work and athletics, Miller found time for other activities. He was on the men’s debate team that placed third in state competition in 1937. He was active in student government and was Student Council president his junior year. He was editor of the Ista yearbook and participated in thespians as a senior.j_miller_jersey

The leadership activities and positive attitude that Miller gained at Bluffton carried him into leadership positions after his 1939 graduation with a degree in social science. He taught and coached high school football before entering the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942. He was commissioned as a senior lieutenant during his four years with the Coast Guard. Following World War II, he returned to coaching, this time in Mission, Texas.

Miller was head of his own company, JFM Associates, a marketing organization selling energy-related products throughout Texas. He was also a community and church leader. His credits included being mayor of Mission and its Man of the Year in 1951; a school board and Lions Club president; and a member of a bank board of directors.

He was also a Sunday school teacher, lay leader and chair of the building financial drive for First Methodist Church in Mission.

A leader must think positively about life’s opportunities. Miller, who died in 2012, attributed his value of this personal quality in part to his educational experiences at Bluffton. “I am and will always be deeply grateful to Bluffton College and more particularly to Coach Burcky for this invaluable gift—a positive attitude.”

Harry Jump ’38

The late Harry V. Jump distinguished himself early on as a leader. During his freshman year at Bluffton in 1932, he managed to play football, basketball and tennis; get elected as class president; and become actively involved with the YMCA and Student Cabinet.h_jump

Jump was noted for playing a key role in the success of athletic teams in 1932. The basketball team, for instance, tied with Findlay for second place in the Northwest Ohio Conference. Jump, a stellar forward, was praised for his all-around play.

In football he was the answer to Coach Burcky’s prayers when the previous year’s quarterback graduated. “Jump not only called a perfect selection of plays but passed the ball with a keen eye and scampered for many long runs that netted scores,” noted the Ista yearbook. Jump and his teammates won the first conference championship in the history of the college with a 3-2-2 season.h_jump_cert

His tennis agility was a positive addition to the men’s team and, for the second year in a row, the Bluffton tennis team captured the conference title.

During his sophomore year, his peers elected him co-captain of the basketball team. He was, according to the Ista, “a leader with the team because of his courage in defeat as well as in victory.” In football he was dubbed “the general” because he always had the right play at the right time, something rare in quarterbacks, noted Coach Burcky. He also began running track for Bluffton during his sophomore year.

During his junior yeh_jump_clippingar, he was listed as the football team’s star passer during a 3-4 season; the basketball team soared to new heights with an 11-5 record; and he continued running track. When that year ended, he had earned nine sports letters through three short years.

After three outstanding years as a leader on and off the playing field, it was only natural that he was elected captain of the 1935 football team as a senior. But Jump did not return for a fourth year. It was still the Depression, and he started teaching at Goshen Township High School in the fall of 1935. He taught for three years and in 1938, after picking up the required college courses during the summers, earned his degree in mathematics.

Jump died in 1989.


Dennis Ray Lane ’70

Dennis Lane accumulated seven athletic letters in high school and was the school’s Athlete of the Year his senior year. But his college career was to be even more impressive.

By the time Lane grad_laneduated in 1970, he had been named to the NAIA all-district baseball team twice and the all-district basketball team once. He finished college with eight athletic letters and received the A.C. Burcky Award as Bluffton’s outstanding senior male athlete.

Lane became a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals’ minor-league system in 1970. The English major then taught and coached at Ridgemont High School in 1972-73 before moving on to Bellefontaine High School. He has been an assistant football coach, head baseball coach, boys’ head basketball coach and girls’ basketball coach.d_lane_news

Lane has also been involved in several organizations relating to teaching and coaching, including the National Association of English Teachers, the Ohio Basketball Coaches Association and the Ohio High School Athletic Association Officials Association.

He enjoyed Bluffton’s friendly atmosphere, which influenced him to attend when he first looked into the college. “I visited severad_lane_clippingl other colleges, but nowhere did I feel that the people in the campus environment were as interested in other people as at Bluffton,” he said.





James Creel ’37

The late James Allen Creel began his Bluffton career as a leader both in sports and student organizations. In 1934, Creel’s freshman year, he was elected class president and held an exclusive backfiej_creelld post the entire football season. He became involved in basketball, baseball and track as well, making a name for himself as the most versatile athlete at Bluffton.

Creel played during the A.C. Burcky era. “In athletics, under our fine coach and gentleman A.C. Burcky, I learned how to win graciously and lose gracefully, a lesson that has aided me countless times since my graduation from Bluffton,” he said.

Creel was a part of the 1937 football team that Coach Burcky called, “… the best team we have had in the history of Bluffton College.Varsity B” His rushing and receiving that year made Bluffton a formidable competitor.

In basketball his freshman year, Creel began earning a reputation for aggressive play on the court. The 1934 Ista described him as having “natural basket-getting superiority” and “aggressive guarding tactics.” His basketball talents increased during his four years at Bluffton and, in a 1937 game against Findlay, he scored 24 points.

Creel also earned respect in baseball and track, and by his fourth year he held 11 athletic letters.

Creel, who died in 2000, believed in the importance of relating well with people. “The four years I spent at Bluffton taught me how to live with other people on a day-to-day basis and to respect their way of life. In whole, I learned not only academically, but tolerance and understanding as well.”




Shirley “Sam” Seymour ’36

The late Shirley “Sam” Seymour majored in biology and was a three-year letterman in football. In various editions of the Ista, Seymour was described as “the Painesville Terror,” who was one of those lean, lanky tackles who “hit like a brick.” Though only 150 pounds, he was called “a real fighter.” Several times he was mentioned for outstanding efforts in spite of a team loss. One yearbook paid him and tws_seymouro previous hall of fame inductees, “due respects for the fine spirit of sportsmanship … and to the fine brand of ball that they played.”

Seymour became a dentist who served the Painesville, Ohio, area for 39 years following his graduation from the Ohio State University College of Dentistry in 1940. He was a life member of the American Dental Society, serving as president in 1949-50.

Said Seymour of his college experiences: “Bluffton exposed me to quality moral and academic teachings that became the foundation of s_seymour_jerseymy life. Athletic participation was both a recreational activity and a learning experience.” He was secretary-treasurer of Varsity B, Junior Hi-Y adviser and Senior Hi-Y adviser.

Among his civic activities in Painesville were the following: member of the Lake County Planning Commission and chair of the Committee on Subdivision Regulation, chair of the Leroy Township Zoning Commission, director of the Lake County Branch of the American Cancer Society and director and treasurer of the Friends of Marley Library Association.

The Painesville Telegraph, referring to the retirements of Seymour and his brother Raymond, said in 1979: “Professional skill and a rare ability to please the public contributed to the outstanding success of these two dentists. Time and good service have endeared them to their patients. Their decision to continue to live in the county is at least something to be happy about as they slowly fade from the professional scene. The Seymour brothers have earned a happy retirement. Their friends and the people who have known them as ‘Doctor’ won’t forget them. They did their profession well and were a credit to downtown Painesville.”

Seymour died in 1997.

Kenneth Altier ’39

Olin Baumgartner, a Bluffton graduate who was Ken Altier’s high school teacher and assistant football coach, was instrumental in getting Altier to Bluffton, both through a personal loan and arranging work.  From there, Altier went on to become a teacher and counselor of youth.altier_k

A graduate of Girard High School, Altier was active in extracurricular activities while majoring in social studies at Bluffton. He was a four-year letterman in both football and baseball, May Day chair in 1938, president of Student Council in 1938-39 and Most Popular Man at the 1939 May Day ceremonies. He was also active on The Witmarsum and the yearbook, and in Varsity B.

The 1939 Ista describes his selection as Most Popular Man: “Given the highest honor bestowed upon any man on the campus, Kenneth Altier, senior of Girard, will escort the Bluffton May Day queen to her throne of honor. Altier’s athletic prowess on the gridiron and baseball diamond, together with his student government leadership and other activity participation, well merits this popular position.”

Upon leaving Bluffton, Altier became chief deputy for the Trumbull County sheriff for five years and then began his teaching career at Newton Falls High School, where he was also a coach and athletics director. He served there 16 years and completed his master’s degree from Kent State in 1950.

He returned “home” in 1960 to Girard High School, where he was director of guidance and assistant principal. After his retirement from the school in 1977, Altier served as a trained answerer for Contact, a 24-hour trauma hot line; delivered Meals on Wheels; volunteered for Catholic Charities; and served as a teacher of history and government to the foreign-born who were studying at the International Institute in Youngstown to become naturalized citizens.

Altier said, “My experiences as a student and as an athlete at Bluffton had a major influence on the formation of my adult philosophy. Exchanging ideas with fellow students in Lincoln Hall and coming under the influence of Coach A.C. Burcky have had positive effects on my values and way of life.”

Altier died in 2007.


Robert Schaublin ’33

The late Robert Schaublin started his athletic career at Bluffton High School in football, basketball and track. He was a member of the best cage team in Pirate history, winning its first 23 games before losing by two points in the state finals. An honor student, he also captained the football and track teams.r_schaublin

Schaublin selected Bluffton College because of its strong Christian beliefs. He majored in biology and physical science and played four sports, earning 13 letters.

Schaublin later received his master’s degree from Wayne State University. He taught and coached in Ohio public schools for seven years, war_schaublin_actions an athletics director in the U.S. Army Air Corps for four years and was in education rehabilitation for three years in Veterans Administration hospitals.

In 1949, he moved to St. Clair Shores, Mich., where he served as Lakeview High School principal until 1977. After that, he taught briefly at Sheldon Jackson College in Alaska before returning to Lakeview schools as superintendent for a year. The school board later named the 2,000-seat school auditorium in his honor.

Commenting on his years at Bluffton, Schaublin noted that “Bluffton imbued me with a great interest in competitive sr_schaublin_trackports along with clean Christian living. This interest led me to teaching and coaching and as a school administrator who developed a strong athletics program. I firmly believed in good discipline, a strong academic program and a well-rounded athletics program. The school yearbook stated that ‘you could see Mr. Schaublin at just about every school function.’ That’s the way I stayed close to the kids.”

Schaublin died in 2006.



Galen Leatherman ’32

The late Galen Leatherman was influenced to attend Bluffton by Olin Baumgartner, a Bluffton graduate who was Leatherman’s high school principal and coach. In time, Leatherman became the same kind of leader and role model for others in a lifetime of teaching and coaching.

g_leathermanAt Jackson Township High School in Hoytville, Ohio, he was a three-sport letterman who captained his baseball and basketball teams and was president of the senior class.

He then won 10 varsity letters at Bluffton in football, basketball and baseball. He was captain of the baseball and basketball teams, president of Varsity B and elected Most Popular Man while at Bluffton, where he graduated in 1932 with a degree in biological science.

He returned to Hoytville as a teacher, coach, principal and superintendent from 1932-42. He also served in the Army for three years, reaching the rank of sergeant. Following his military service, he spent six more years as a superintendent and coach. He stopped coaching in 1951 to concentrate on administrative duties, and he finished his education career in 1976 after serving eight years as an occupational work experience teacher at a vocational school in Milan, Ohio.

He was active in a number of professional organizations and served as president of Hoytville council.

Of those who influenced his life, Leatherman commented, “Olin Baumgartner was a hardworking and dedicated teacher who practiced what he preached. A.C. Burcky taught me to win and lose gracefully, and that winning isn’t everything. The leaders in the field of athletics must make good men better. I have tried to be that type of leader.”

Leatherman died in 1998.


Irvin Conrad ’28

The late Irvin Conrad served as a teacher, coach and administrator in several Ohio schools.

i_conrad_centerConrad participated in football, track and basketball in both high school and college, earning seven and six letters, respectively. A history and social science major at Bluffton, Conrad went on to earn his master’s degree from The Ohio State University and was named to the university’s Sigma Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa.

He began teaching in 1928 in the Van Buren school district and also served as a coach. The following year he went to the Liberty-Benton school district, where he was a teacher and coach for seven years. By 1936 he had worked his way up to district superintendent, and in 1943 he moved to Wapakoneta as high school principal and superintendent.

After spending most of his career in small school districts, Conrad decided to take on the challenge of a high school in a large city. He took a teaching position in Toledo in 1951 and after three years became an assistant principal of DeVilbiss High School. From there he moved up rapidly to become executive director for all 10 high schools in the city. Conrad retired in 1972.

He was past president of both the Rotary Club in Wapakoneta and the Ottawa Park Exchange Club in Toledo.

Conrad looked back on his Bluffton experience as inspirational and informative. “Attendance at Bluffton as a student and participating as an athlete in sports did help to shape my life. A small Christian school located in a beautiful setting, dedicated and qualified faculty, a fine program of studies and activities, participation in sports … helped to prepare me to enter the teaching profession with the proper tools and with confidence that I could succeed.”

William Burcky ’53

William Burcky was a versatile athlete in both high school and college. At Bluffton High School, he played basketball, baseball and tennis. As a collegiate athlete, he earned four letters in tennis, three in basketball and onw_burckye in track. Burcky’s campus involvement extended beyond the classroom and athletics to being president of both his senior class and the Varsity B Club.

After his graduation with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Burcky received his master’s degree in counseling from Bradley University and his doctorate in higher education and counseling from St. Louis University.

Burcky began his career in education as a teacher, coach and counselor on the secondary level in 1957. While working on hw_burcky_trophyis doctorate at St. Louis, he was an instructor in counselor education and director of housing in student personnel. In 1971 he became a professor at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville in counselor education and later chaired the department.

Burcky has held several positions in church and civic groups, including elder, deacon and trustee in his church and chair of the Mayor’s Senior Citizens Advisory Committee. At SIU-Edwardsville, he was a member of the President’s Task Force on Athletw_burcky_gloveics.

“Serving as a student leader provided me with many opportunities to experience the responsibilities which go along with those positions,” Burcky said. “Also, it has been a challenge to emulate and to add to my teaching that extra spark of dedication which the faculty at Bluffton possessed when I was a student. I can give credit to Mom, Dad, Jean Ann and the wonderful family life we shared together for establishing the characteristics I brought with me to college. Through participation in athletics, those characteristics were enhanced and further refined.”

Abe Mast ’62

Abe Mast played basketball, baseball and golf at Bluffton, earning four letters in each while coached by his brother, Ken. He also played basketball, football and baseball at Wadsworth High School, where he was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1983.

abe-mastAn art major, Abe spent 10 years as a health and physical education teacher and an assistant and head basketball coach at four high schools in northeast Ohio. He compiled a 134-51 record before leaving education.

After working as an insurance agent until 1972, he established Graphic Publications Inc., which published five weekly, free community newspapers in the Millersburg area.

“Bluffton, as a small liberal-arts institution, provided me an opportunity to expand my horizons on a variety of fronts,” Mast said. “Certainly, my participation in intercollegiate athletics played a role in helping develop skills and attitudes reflective in my coaching, teaching and business careers. Bluffton also allowed me to diversify my interests through participation in dramatics and music. These experiences, nurtured in the Bluffton environment, helped provide a sound foundation for my family life, my vocational life and my Christian life.”

Mast has been a member of Community Papers of Ohio and West Virginia, the Millersburg Chamber of Commerce and the Berlin Area Business Association. He has been commissioner of the Holmes County Little League, chair of both the Holmes County Cancer Crusade and the Longest Day of Golf for the county American Cancer Society, and a member of the Ohio Conference Renewal Committee. He has also been a member, elder and Sunday school teacher at Martins Creek Mennonite Church, Millersburg.

James Benroth ’55

Jim Benroth played baseball, football and basketball at Bluffton and earned four letters in each sport. As a senior, Benroth was named first-team all-league for his efforts on the gridiron. He also played basketball and j_benrothfootball at Cory-Rawson High School, earning two letters in each sport.

A business administration and economics major, Benroth began work at Marathon Oil Co. after graduation. Beginning as a land man and tax analyst, he took the position of field tax man in Casper, Wyo., in 1965, then returned to Ohio in 1973.

Benroth has been a member of the American Right of Way Association, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Ohio Athletic Association. He is an approved Ohio and international basketball official and has been a youth baseball coach.j_benroth_action

He has also been a Sunday school teacher and superintendent at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Findlay, where he served three years as chair of the pastor-parish committee.

At Cory-Rawson, he was a member and president of the school board, as well as a Pony League baseball coach and secretary-treasurer of the Hancock County Pony League.

Benroth looks back on his Bluffton experience as inspirational and formative. “I have always been overwhelmed and gratj_benroth_clippingeful how my student life at Bluffton has affected my life. The warm Christian atmosphere always had its positive influence on me. The caring attitude of the faculty was always impressive and has stayed with me ever since. Sports participation was the most impressive for me as I was able to enjoy each sport so much. The friendships and relations with fellow students and opponents were always very enjoyable. This background continued to establish a positive work and participation attitude that stays with me today.”





Richard Rosenberger ’52

Richard Rosenberger played football and basketball and ran track at Bluffton. He earned seven letters for his efforts, four of them in basketball. During his senior year, Rosenberger was named to the All-Mid-Ohr_rosenbergerio League basketball team. He also participated in basketball, football and track at Dalton High School.

A history major, Rosenberger went to law school following graduation. He earned his law degree in 1958 and went into general practice. Rosenberger has been a member of the American, Pennsylvania, Montgomery County and Bucks County Bar associations.r_rosenberger_medal

He served as deacon for the West Swamp Mennonite Church and director of the Quakertown Lions Club. He has also been a member of the General Conference Mennonite Church Division of Administration and the Bluffton Board of Trustees.

r_rosenberger_hat“Participation in sports was meaningful and enjoyable,” he said. “Winning is always nice, but sports are a great leveler in life and learning to accept the outcome of the game graciously provides a hedge for the game of life. I continue to see Bluffton as a place of opportunity and growth academically, physically, morally and spiritually.”

William Ramseyer ’58

Bill Ramseyer participated in football and track at Bluffton, where he was a part of two league-champion teams and earned six letters. He was a member of the football, basketball, baseball and track teams at Bluffton High School, where he earned nine letters in all.w_ramseyer

A psychology major, Ramseyer received his master’s degree in physical education from Bowling Green State University and his doctorate from the University of Missouri. Ramseyer went on to be a professor of health, physical education and recreation at Wilmington College, as well as athletics director and head football coach. As football coach at Wilmington, he compiled an impressive 98-46-3 record in 16 consecutive winning seasons.

He has more than 30 years of coaching experience, including two years at Bluffton as head baseball and wrestling coach and defensive coordinator for the 1967 Mid-Ohio League championship football team. He also served four years as head scout and an assistant w_ramseyer_dollfootball coach at the University of Missouri.

Ramseyer has been a member of the National Education Association, the Ohio and American associations for HPER, and the American and NAIA Football Coaches associations. He also served four years on the NAIA Academic All-American Selection Committee.

He has been a Sunday school teacher and youth group adviser, and has served as chair of community March of Dimes, heart and cancer fund drives. He has also been a member of the Wilmington Friends Church Board of Trustees and the church choir.

ed as chairman for the Community March of Dimes, heart and cancer fund drives. He has been on the Board of Trustees of the Wilmington Friends Church and also sings in the choir.

John Weber ’63

John Weber, a business graduatj_webere, lettered in football four years, was captain of the 1960 and 1962 squads and was Most Valuable Player of the 1962 team that finished 7-2 and was Mid-Ohio League co-champion.

In 1959 Weber led the MOL in rushing as the Beavers won the league title. He also lettered in baseball two years and was captain of the 1962 co-champion team.j_weber_figure

Weber has been president of Superior Memorials since 1973. He has also been president of the Kitchener (Ont.) Minor Baseball Association and general manager of a semi-pro baseball team.

“Bluffton sports helped me toj_weber_clipping develop my desire to do well,” Weber said. “My outstanding memory of my playing days is the Findlay game my sophomore year. We were underdogs but won 22-14. I made a 70-yard touchdown run and scored another touchdown in the big upset.”





James Ehrman ’39

The late James Ehrman played basketball for three years—lettering twice—and tennis for one year. Graduating from Bluffton in 1939 with a degree in mathematics, he went on to earn his master’s degree in education j_ehrmanfrom Kent State University in 1951. He then completed additional graduate studies at Fenn College, Western Reserve University and the University of Toledo.

For 40 years he worked in educational administration in Ohio school districts. He also served at Bluffton as director of alumni affairs in 1966-67; athletics director from 1978-80; and an associate in development from 1978-84. In addition, he was a longtime volunteer in the football press box and at the men’s basketball scorer’s table. In retirement, Ehrman worked on special projects in the development office, including organizing Homecoming and May Day events.

He received many honors at Bluffton, including the Larry Jones Memorial Award for service to the athletics department and recognition as Outstanding Alumnus in 1982.

“My most outstanding memory of Bluffton sports was a time when the team was on a trip to southern Ohio,” Ehrman said. “A restaurant refused to serve one of our players because he was black, so we all got up and walked out.”

Ehrman died in 1994.

Lynn Martin ’66

Lynn Martin not only was a four-year letterman in both football and basketball, but he also received three golf awards and another in baseball, matching the 12 letters he had won at Mount Blanchard High School.

l_martinHe was an All-Mid-Ohio Conference offensive guard on a 7-2 Bluffton football team in 1965. He was also a guard on the basketball court, and that’s where he really stood out.

He was All-MOC three times in basketball, first-team All-NAIA District 22 once and second team all-district once. He still holds the Bluffton single-game record of 19 field goals, plus a career free throw percentage of .812. He is sixth in career scoring at 1,513 points—with a 17.8 average per game—and tied for sixth in single-game scoring, with 42 points against Northwood during his sophomore season. He is also near the top of five other statistical categories, including his mark of scoring 20 or more points in 39 games.

In 1974, Martin started a successful coaching career at Van Buren High School.l_martin_clippings

As coach of the boys’ basketball Black Knights, Martin had a record of 243-96 and won seven Blanchard Valley Conference championships, 11 sectional titles, six district championships and two regional titles. His 1985 and 1986 teams were state semifinalists, and he was named BVC Coach of the Year six times.

In six years as golf coach, he led his teams to two sectional and two district championships, plus a third-place finish at the state tournament in 1984 and the state title in 1985.

He was also an assistant football coach and athletics director at Van Buren before moving on to Olentangy High School near Columbus as athletics director.


Reuben Conrad ’34

The late Reuben Conrad earned one letter each in basketball and football as a Bluffton athlete, but it was in track and field where he was a standout, earning four letters while competing in the 100- anr_conradd 220-yard dashes, the long jump, javelin and mile relay. Conrad once threw the javelin more than 166 feet, which stood as the school record for many years. A history major, he also participated in several non-athletic extracurricular activities, including three years in the Men’s Glee Club and the Choral Society.

After earning his master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Illinois, he was a high school teacher and coach for r_conrad_ribbons10 years, coaching basketball, football and track.

Conrad then took an administrative position in Arlington Heights, Ill., as coordinator of curriculum and supervisor of instruction, serving for 28 years. At retirement, he received lifetime honorary membership in the state and national Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Conrad officiated football, basketball and track for 25 years on the high school and collegiate levels. He also entered many Senior Olympics—receiving numerous awards in tennis, track and field, basketball free throw and shuffleboard—and participated in square dancing, biking and ballroom dancing. He died in 1998.

Jim Sommer ’68

Jim Sommer, a graduate of Pekin (Ill.) High School, earned four letters in basketball and two in football. He holds school records in basketball and earned postseason honors in both sports.

Jim Sommer

Jim Sommer

In basketball, Sommer holds the single-game mark for rebounds (29) and career records for most rebounds (1,030) and best rebound average (12.4). He led the team in rebounding three years and in scoring once.

Sommer was first-team All-Mid-Ohio Conference twice in basketball and a second-team selection once, and was first-team All-NAIA District 22 once.

He led the football team in receiving twice and was the first non-back ever to lead the Beavers in scoring (50 points in 1967). Sommer had eight touchdown receptions that year. He was All-MOC twice in football and earned first-team all-district honors once.

Sommer, who graduated in 1968 with a major in business administration, taught and coached at Delphos Jefferson High School for four years and served as sales manager at Sommer Brothers Seed Co.

Mike Goings ’70

Mike Goings, a graduate of Paulding (Ohio) High School, had a spectacular individual Bluffton football season in 1962. His 22 touchdowns and 132 points led the nation’s small colleges as he ran for 1,183 yards.m_goings

In addition to the single-season records for touchdowns and scoring, he holds the single-game record for yards rushing, with 314 vs. Alma in 1962.

Goings was All-MOC and all-district from 1961-63 and in 1965. He was the first player to lead the Beavers in rushing all four yearsm_goings_doll. For his career, Goings had 3,338 yards in 580 attempts, plus 47 touchdowns and two conversions for 284 points.

A 1970 graduate with a major in social work, Goings has worked for Lima City Schools as a guidance counselor and home school coordinator, for the United Parcel Service and as a sales representative for J.M. Sealts Co.

Barbara Boutwell ’68

Barbara Boutwell earned three letters in basketball, two in volleyball and one in tennis, and was president of Women’s Varsity B at Bluffton.

barbara_boutwellShe received her bachelor’s degree in 1968 with a major in elementary education and, in 1987, earned a master’s degree from Azusa Pacific University.

Boutwell taught fifth grade and coached in Wapakoneta City Schools from 1968-85. During that time, she initiated and coached girls’ basketball, volleyball, track and tennis, plus boys’ tennis. She was the Western Buckeye League tennis Coach of the Year in 1981.barb_boutwell_plaque

Boutwell also coached tennis at Bluffton in 1981 and 1982 and was a tennis instructor at Orchard Hill Tennis Club in Lima from 1983-85 and at Ohio State University-Lima in 1985. As a player, she won 125 first- or second-place trophies from 1969-85 and was ranked fourth in the seven-state Western Tennis Association in 1983-84.

Boutwell then went on to teach fifth grade, along with seventh- and ninth-grade mathematics, in Fontana, Calif.



Clair Recker ’73

Clair Recker
Clair Recker was the high scorer on three of the highest-scoring men’s basketball teams in Bluffton history, from 1970-73. He held the season and career scoring records for 13 years and still holds records on the single-game and season lists.

Recker earned first-team All-Mid-Ohio Conference honors and second-team All-NAIA District 22 recognition as a sophomore. As both a junior and senior, he was first-team All-Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference and first-team all-district.

Recker averaged 20.3 points per game for his career and led Bluffton in scoring for three seasons. He was the first player to score 40 or more points in a game twice and six times scored 35 or more, another Bluffton mark. His most memorable game was against Malone in 1972-73, when he set the then-single-game scoring record with 44 points in Bluffton’s only NAIA District 22 playoff victory.

Recker, who majored in English, coached junior varsity basketball at Cory-Rawson High School for a year and varsity basketball at Leipsic High School for four years. He then entered private industry in management.

Aser Nurmi ’39

The late Aser Nurmi, also known as “Paavo” or “Ace,” was born in Finland and came to the United States when he was about 7 years old. He graduated from Painesville Harvey High School in 1934.aser_nurmi

Nurmi was a four-year basketball letterman who played on two of Bluffton’s best teams prior to World War II. The 1934-35 team was 11-5, while the 1935-36 team, with a 12-4 record, matched Bluffton’s all-time best winning percentage and was co-champion of the Northwest Ohio Conference.

The Cleveland Pressonce called Nurmi “inch-for-inch the best player to appear on the Western Reserve court.” The former Blufaser_nurmi_clippingfton captain recalled his greatest thrill as “racing down the court and throwing in a hook shot from the corner at the last second that gave the Beavers a one-point win over previously undefeated Defiance.”

Nurmi played a few years of semi-pro basketball. He later served on a variety of community and professional boards.

Following his graduation in 1939 with a physical science major, Nurmi held various management positions with Industrial Rayon Corp. until 1972, when he joined R.W. Sidley Inc. as a vice president and director. He retired as company vice president in 1984 but remained on the board. Nurmi died in 2001.

Elaine (Aeschliman ’72) Moyer

Elaine (Aeschliman) Moyer came to Bluffton as a transfer student from Hesston College and played one year of volleyball and two years of softball. The Archbold High School graduate was a health, physicae_moyerl education and recreation major at Bluffton who also holds a master’s degree from Marshall University—with a physical education major—and a principal’s certificate from Temple University.

Moyer taught at Lima South Junior High School from 1973-75, was a graduate assistant at Marshall in 1975-76, an assistant professor of HPER at Bluffton from 1976-79 and 1980-83, and a registration and scheduling specialist at Indiana University in 1979-80. She then served as principal at Christopher Dock Mennonite High School in Pennsylvania.e_moyer_coat

She coached volleyball and tennis at Bluffton from 1975-79 and led the women’s track team from 1981-83. She also was director of women’s athletics, HPER department chair, the first president of the Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference and a volleyball official for six years. Her volleyball teams were 17-18, 23-16 and 15-8 in three years, a 55-42 record that marked the beginning of a winning era in Bluffton sports.

Moyer received the Phi Epsilon Kappa Scholarship Key Award. She also served as vice president of the Bicentennial Athletic League.

Evan Soash ’42

The late Evan Soash, son of a Bluffton physician, was a star football, basketball and track athlete for the Bluffton High School Pirates. He held the Bluffton high-jump record of 6-3 for many years.e_soash

At Bluffton College, he lettered four years in football and track and three years in baseball. He later played football for the U.S. Navy team under Coach Paul Brown at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station.

A pre-medicine major at Bluffton, he later added a bachelor’s degree with a major in science in education from Bowling Green e_soash_ballState University.

Soash coached, taught and was a principal in the Alger school system (now Upper Scioto Valley) for seven years. He then moved to Michigan, where he was a teacher, coach and assistant principal at Lakeview High School for 12 years and principal at Warren Woods High School for three years.

He later moved to Florida, where he was coordinator of secondary curriculum and principal at Vero Beach Junior High School for 13 years.

Soash, who died in 2004, officiated high school and professional sports, being active year-round in football, basketball, volleyball, softball and baseball. One of his greatest thrills was serving as plate umpire for several Los Angeles Dodgers exhibition games in 1977 when the major league umpires were on strike. He also umpired many minor league baseball games in Florida.

Robert Hewitt ’69

Robert Hewitt, a native of Massillon, Ohio, lettered in football and track four years at Bluffton. His 86-yard kickoff return for a score was a Bluffton record for a few years, and his 92-yard run from scrimmage remains tied for_hewittr the fifth-longest in school history. He also had a 72-yard run from scrimmage as a freshman and a 70-yard run as a senior.

He was selected as a first-team All-Mid-Ohio Conference halfback in 1967 and 1968, and All-NAIA District 22 in 1968. He led his team in rushing twice and was the top scorer once. He ranks 18th on the Bluffton career rushing list with 1,682 yards.r_hewitt_fb

In track Hewitt was a member of the school record-setting 440-yard and mile relay teams. The mile team also established a MOC mark. At the Tri-State Relays his senior year, he was a member of winning teams in the sprint medley relay, 440-yard relay, 880-yard relay and mile relay.

After leaving Bluffton, he earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in social work from Wayne State University and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively.

From 1987 until his retirement in 2008, Hewitt was a faculty member in social work at Shippensburg (Pa.) University. Previously, he had spent more than 15 years working for the federal government both as an Army officer and a civilian, living and working in Panama for 11 of those years.r_hewitt_clipping

In addition to his duties at Shippensburg, he has taught social work principles in the community. Other activities have included leading a support group for parents of pre-teens and teenagers in Chambersburg, Pa., and conducting a date rape/rape violence workshop for high school juniors and seniors.


Jennifer (Liechty ’82) Zickafoose

Jennifer (Liechty) Zickafoose, a three-sport standout, was the fifth woman inducted into the Bluffton Athletics Hall of Fame.

j_leichty_zickafooseZickafoose, a graduate of South Adams High School in Berne, Ind., earned two letters in basketball, three in tennis and four in volleyball at Bluffton. She captained the volleyball team her final two years.

She has coached several sports since graduation, directing Bluffton’s tennis program for two years and serving as swim coach at Lima Senior High School four years, at Shawnee High School one year, at Shawnee Country Club three summers and for the Lima YMCA. She hasj_leichty_zickafoose_jersey also coached volleyball for several years at the junior high and assistant varsity levels. Two of her Bluffton tennis players qualified for and played in the national tournament in 1984.

Zickafoose served as aquatics director for the Lima YMCA for two years and has taught seventh- and eighth-grade learning disabled students at Lima South Middle School. She received the Franklin B. Walter Outstanding Educator Award in 1994 for her work with exceptional children. Zickafoose also went on to pursue her master’s degree in reading at The Ohio State University.


Glenn Snyder ’60

Glenn Snyder was a football player, longtime coach and administrator at Bluffton.

g_snyderSnyder coached the Bluffton men’s basketball team for 14 years—the fourth-longest men’s hoops tenure—while recording, at the time, the most wins and best percentage of anyone who had coached more than three years.g_snyder_pin

Snyder taught in the health, fitness and sport science department and also had stints as head tennis coach and an assistant football and baseball coach. He was Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference tennis Coach of the Year in 1985.

During his 20 years at Bluffton, he also served as director of admissions, dean of men, director of Marbeck Center, acting dean of students, athletics director, a department chair and faculty chair.

Snyder played football for four years as a Bluffton student, earning All-Mid-Ohio League honors at center as a senior.g_snyder_beaver-1

A native of Girard, Ohio, he holds a master’s degree from Kent State University and a doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. He has also coached, taught and/or been an administrator at Fresno Pacific, Bethel, the United States Sports Academy and the International School of Theology.







John Brown ’73

John Brown was a three-sport athlete and one of Bluffton’s best all-around basketball players.

John BrownA graduate of Elida High School, he became the first Bluffton men’s cager to play 100 games. He is among the Beavers’ season and career leaders in several categories, averaging 16.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game over his four years.

He is on the career lists for scoring, field goals, field goals attempted, rebounds, free throws and free throws attempted. His 23 rebounds against Cedarville are tied for third on the single-game rebounds chart.

The 6-3 Brown normally guarded the opposition’s big man, and he was voted the Beavers’ best defensive player each year of his career. He was first-team All-Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference and All-NAIA District 22 in 1972-73, and second-team all-district in 1971-72.

Brown also lettered in cross country and golf at Bluffton. He later coached the men’s basketball team while working in the admissions office.

He has been a teacher, coach and administrator in the Lima public school system, including serving as principal at South Middle School. Brown received his master’s degree from the University of Dayton and a doctorate from the University of Sarasota (Fla.).


James H. Bishop ’56

The late James Bishop was a four-year letterman in football, baseball and basketball, earning All-Mid-Ohio Conference honors as a football center in 1955. He was considered the ultimate team player and could play aj_bishopny of the line positions.

Jim was more than an athlete, though. He was active in musical groups, was on the Homecoming court and, as a senior, was voted Most Popular Man for May Day ceremonies and appeared in “Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.” Bishop was also a member of Student Council, an officer in the Student Christian Association, president of the Bluffton Choir and active in Big Brothers-Big Sisters.

Following graduation, he worked 26 years for General Motors. He then spent 10 years as a regional manager with Electronic Data Systems before retiring.

Bishop was a member of Plymouth (Mich.) United Methodist Church and its finance committee, a volunteer with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and, until retirement, an avid golfer.

Bishop died in 1995 following a three-year battle with cancer.

Cheryl (Althaus ’83) Bareiter

Cheryl (Althausc_althaus) Bareiter was a four-year letter winner in volleyball, basketball and softball, and earned the Kathryn Little Award as the outstanding senior female athlete in 1983.

She was second-team All-Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference in volleyball in 1982, leading Bluffton in hitting percentage.

In basketball, she shares the single-game scoring mark, with 33 points against Heidelberg her sophomore season; led her team in scoring three years; and is one of six Bluffton women to surpass 1,000 career points. She was second-team All-WBCC and honorable mention all-district in 1983.c_althaus_ball

An elementary education major at Bluffton, Bareiter added a master’s degree in outdoor education from the University of Akron in 1994. She taught and coached for 10 years at Pandora-Gilboa before moving to Wadsworth City Schools. As girls’ basketball coach at Pandora-Gilboa, she led the first Rocket team to reach the regional tournament in any sport.

Bareiter is also a member of the Wadsworth and Medina County halls of fame.

Jan Althaus ’80

Janice Althaus was a Bluffton standout in volleyball, softball and basketball. She won four letters in both volleyball and basketball and three in softball, missing a fourth when she coached a high school team onj_althause spring. She received the Kathryn Little Award as the outstanding senior woman athlete in 1980.

During the 1976-77 basketball season, she led Bluffton in scoring with 15.1 points per game, tied for the rebounding lead at 10.2 per game and paced the squad in field goal shooting.j_althaus_records

An education major at Bluffton, Althaus received her master’s degree in outdoor recreation from the University of Akron in 1994. She has taught high school health and physical education at Wadsworth High School. She was a varsity volleyball coach for 11 years, after coaching the junior varsity five seasons. She was also a girls’ junior varsity basketball coach for 11 years.

She attends First Mennonite Church in Wadsworth, where she has served as a senior deacon.


Volleyball Team ’85

The 1985 volleyball team was the first Bluffton team with 30 wins in any sport, finishing 35-6 overall and 6-0 in the Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference. The team won the Ashland, WBCC and NAIA District 22 tournaments before placing second in the Bi-District 15 tournament.

Coach Kim Fischer’s team won 11 of its first 12 matches, dropping only three sets in the process. After a pair of losses, Bluffton won seven in a row before dropping a close match to archrival Ohio Northern. The Beavers defeated Findlay twice for the WBCC tournament title and, following another close loss, to Grove City, they downed Findlay and Walsh for the district crown. A loss to Northwood Institute in the bi-district tournament ended the season.

Teresa Runner was first-team all-conference and all-district, while Dawn Freck was first-team All-WBCC and second-team all-district and Mary DeJute was second-team all-conference and honorable mention all-district. Fischer was selected as WBCC Coach of the Year.

Football Team ’58

The 1958 football team reigned as the greatest of all time until the 1988 squad came along, but the earlier team’s exploits remain legendary in Beaver grid history. The 1958 Ken Mast-coached squad dominated opponents far greater than any Bluffton team, winning by an average of 25.3 points per game and posting an average yardage advantage of 217.8 yards per contest.

The team gained an amazing 7.7 yards per play. Its rushing total (3,015 yards), average rushing yards per game (335) and yards per rushing attempt (7.2) remain Bluffton standards. Six opponents were shut out, another school record. The ’58 squad also holds Bluffton records for yards per pass attempt (10.7) and yards per catch (24.1).

The Beavers shut out four of the first five opponents, losing only to Heidelberg. After a 42-30 victory at Findlay, they shut out Ashland and Manchester before edging Centre to cap off their second 8-1 season in three years. In the 57-0 rout of Ashland, the Beavers racked up 622 yards of total offense—the fourth highest total in Bluffton history—and their 500-yard advantage in total offense (622-122) is the second highest ever. The 57-point margin is tied for the largest Bluffton margin of victory, while the nine touchdowns scored against both Ashland and Ohio Northern are tied for first in Bluffton’s record book.

Receiving first-team all-conference honors were Elbert Dubenion, Joe Urich, Jim Buffenbarger and Chet Foraker on offense, and Jim Weaver, C.K. Steiner, Ed Smoker and Urich on defense. Dubenion had 1,288 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns for 102 points, while Urich hit 18 passes for 512 yards and five scores.

Taylor W 14-0
Heidelberg L 6-20
Ohio Northern W 55-0
Defiance W 34-0
Wilmington W 42-0
Findlay W 42-30
Ashland W 57-0
Manchester W 24-0

Beth (Crates ’85) Stone

Beth (Crates) Stone is a Kenton (Ohio) High School graduate who played basketball and tennis for two years at Bluffton after receiving her associate degree in business from Northwestern Business College.


In basketball, Stone is tied for second in career assists (335) and is first in assists per game (7.3).  She also holds the season assist record (198 as a senior in 1984-85) and the single-game assist mark of 15, which she reached twice that season, when she received NAIA District 22 honorable mention. In addition, she led the team in free throw percentage (.724) and steals (72) that year.  She ended her career with a .661 free throw percentage.

As a tennis player, she had a spectacular senior year, going 26-6 in singles and doubles, winning the NAIA District 22 doubles


semifinals with Margaret Fisher, and advancing to the national tournament at Kansas City in both singles and doubles.

She said she had never forgotten the statement posted in Founders Hall: “You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” She added, “Bluffton helped me to be myself and accept others for who they are.”

Stone, who later coached tennis and assisted with basketball at Bluffton, has been employed in administrative support at Kuss Corp., Findlay.

Bob Smucker ’52

Bob Smucker came to Bluffton from Orrville High School. A four-year football player, he captained the Beavers his junior and senior years, earning All-Mid-Ohio League honors as a senior guard.

b_smuckerSmucker assisted in recruiting Elbert Dubenion to Bluffton. He said that is more memorable than his personal accomplishments, since Dubenion went on to become the most honored athlete in Bluffton history and a pro football player.

While at Bluffton, Smucker was class president as a sophomore, class treasurer as a senior, Homecoming escort his last three years, business manager of the yearbook and a four-year member of Varsity B.

Smucker was a lobbyist at the local and national levels for many nonprofit organizations, as well as director of public policy for the National Mental Health Association. He was also vice president for government relations at Independent Sector, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that assists nonprofit groups in their lobbying and organizational efforts.

His book, “The Nonprofit Lobbying Guide: Advocating Your Case – and Getting Results,” is an authoritative guide demonstrating the many ways that nonprofit professionals and volunteers can organize lobbying campaigns, better understand the legislative process, deal effectively with the media, communicate with legislators and develop grass-roots action.


Fred Liechty ’50

The late Fred Liechty played three sports at Bluffton after graduating from Berne (Ind.) High School. He lettered twice in football and four times each in basketball and baseball.

f_leichtyIn baseball, he was the leading hitter all four years and posted a .577 average in 1948. His other extracurricular activities included Student Christian Association, Men’s Glee Club and May Day chair in 1949. He was also voted Most Popular Man on campus in 1950.

Most of Liechty’s subsequent career was spent at First Bank of Berne, where he served 16 years as cashier, 23 years as a director and 12 years as president before retiring in 1993.f_leichty_action

He was active on the Adams County Migrant Committee and the First Mennonite Refugee Resettlement Committee. A Sunday school teacher for 41 years, he had also been president of the Mennonite Choral Society and was a Mennonite Biblical Seminary board member for 17 years.

Liechty, who died in 2012, credited Bluffton with helping him grow and mature, saying he had been impressed with the friendly attitude of people on campus. He also noted that his exposure to Mennonite thinking about service and peace issues changed his position on the military draft. “Bluffton became my family for four years and gave me values that have shaped my life and that of my family,” he said.

Women’s Basketball Team 1981-82

With a 15-5 record, the 1981-82 women’s basketball team has the best winning percentage in Bluffton women’s history. Unfortunately, the team was not in a league at that time, and there is no record of postseason individual honors.

81.82 wbbCoach Kim Fischer’s team also holds school marks for points per game (77), winning margin (11.5), field goal percentage (.445) and single-season winning streak (six).

Individual statistical leaders included Cheryl Althaus in scoring, Venessa Beach in rebounding, Tina Verhoff in field goal percentage and assists, and Amy White in steals. Althaus and Verhoff, members of the Athletics Hall of Fame along with White, are near the top of the career scoring list, and Verhoff is also near the top in career rebounding.

Men’s Basketball Team 1965-66

The 1965-66 men’s basketball team, coached by Ken Mast, posted the best winning percentage in modern Bluffton history, going 17-6 and winning the Mid-Ohio League title. The Beavers’ 9-1 mark in the MOL represented the only league title won by a Bluffton men’s basketball team in the previous 50 years.

65.66 mbbThe team holds school season records for most wins (10) and best winning percentage (.833) in Founders Hall, most rebounds (1,317), highest rebound average (57.3), highest rebound margin (9.4), and highest averages for free throws made (20.2) and attempted (28.7). Bluffton put together two six-game winning streaks and scored 100 or more points three times.

Team members Lynn Martin, Jim Sommer and Alex Clark were first-team All-MOL. Martin was also first-team all-district, while Clark received second-team all-district honors.

Martin and Sommer, along with teammate Mark Froning, are among the top 10 Bluffton career scorers and in the Athletics Hall of Fame. Sommer and Clark are ranked first and fourth, respectively, in career rebounding.

Sylvester Moore ’76

Sylvester Moore ’76 was one of the outstanding defensive middle guards in Bluffton football history, earning All-Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference honors and first-team NAIA District 22 honors three straight years.

s_mooreHe received two national awards his senior year, gaining second-team NAIA All-American recognition and honorable mention Little All-American. Only he, Elbert Dubenion ’59 and Greg Gilcrease ’89 have received first- or second-team All-American honors among Bluffton football players.


Moore was an outstanding player despite his size (175 pounds), as he utilized quickness to become virtually unstoppable on the defensive line. He was named Bluffton’s outstanding defensive player as a sophomore, then was the Beavers’ Most Valuable Player his junior and senior seasons.

He has since been a teacher in the Cleveland school system.

Pete DuMonte ’87

Pete DuMontePeter DuMonte holds more Bluffton men’s basketball records than any other player, including one that seems unapproachable–scoring in double figures in every game he played (105). He scored 20 points or more in 71 games and 30 or more 18 times. He averaged more than 20 points per game all four years and was selected to the NAIA District 22 first team each year.

DuMonte holds Bluffton career records for points (2,416), scoring average (23.0), field goals made (996), field goals made per game (9.5), field goals attempted (1,810) and field goals attempted per game (17.2).

He has been a teacher in Carey, Ohio, schools and an assistant basketball coach at Tiffin University.

Janice Bruner ’86

Janice Bruner was described by her coach, Kim Fischer, as “one of the best pure shooters among women’s basketball players at Bluffton.” Bruner, who was also a standout in volleyball, had the most career points (1,121), field goals (497) and field goal attempts (1,135) at the time of her graduation in 1986. Her field goals record still stands.

j_brunner_equipmentIn 1985-86 she set the season mark—also still standing—for field goals made (165) while earning first-team Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference honors. The previous year she was second-team All-WBCC and honorable mention all-district. She led the team in scoring her last two years and was at the top in six statistical categories as a senior. An outside hitter on the volleyball team, she led Bluffton in service aces in 1985.

Bruner has been a social studies teacher at Hilltop High School in the Millcreek-West Unity school system.


Volleyball Team ’87

The 1987 volleyball team established a Bluffton victory total that may never be surpassed when it posted a 38-4 overall record. The .905 winning percentage also is a record, as is a winning streak of 22 matches during the season.

1987 vbBluffton won the Oberlin Early Bird Tournament, was second in the Defiance Invitational and placed third in the Ohio Northern Invitational. The Beavers went 5-0 in the Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference during the regular season and 3-0 in the WBCC tournament before ending the year with a 1-1 record in the NAIA District 22 tournament.1987vb-1

Jamie Beachy and Deb Hucke were named first-team all-conference and all-district, while Dawn Brown was a second-team all-conference selection.







Amy White ’83

Amy White
Amy White was a four-year letter winner in basketball and received one softball award. On the court, she was the starting point guard all four years, led the team in assists in 1979-80, captained the 1981-82 team that is in the Hall of Fame, led the team in steals that year and is among Bluffton’s career scoring leaders.

A graduate of Leipsic High School, she coached volleyball and basketball and taught at Allen East High School for four years before moving to the Bowling Green school system, where she coached basketball for four years. In 1991-92, her team won the Northern Lakes League title and she was named NLL Coach of the Year and coached the North team in the All Star Cage Classic. White received her master’s degree in education (guidance and counseling) from Bowling Green State University in 1995 and has been a counselor in Bowling Green City Schools.

Ron Huber ’68

Ron Huber has been a teacher and coach whose post-college achievements matched those of his Bluffton days. A graduate of Lima Senior High School who transferred to Bluffton from The Ohio State University, he made his athletic mark in tennis.

r_huber_stuffHe was undefeated in regular-season play during his college career, with his only loss in the quarterfinals of the NAIA national tournament. He went on to win the Lima city singles and doubles titles several times in the 1970s.

Huber’s Shawnee High School tennis teams won 12 Western Buckeye League boys’ titles and eight WBL girls’ crowns. He coached a state-champion doubles team and a three-time individual state champion. Dozens of his former players went on to play college tennis, many at the Division I level. His high school coaching record was 446-127, at one point the eighth-best among Ohio tennis coaches.

Huber earned his master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton and, in 1990, was named Ohio History Teacher of the Year. He retired after 30 years at Shawnee, then returned to Bluffton in 2011 as men’s and women’s tennis coach.

Everett Collier ’75

Everett Collier was and is more than an outstanding football player. In fact, it was his difficulty in adjusting to small-town life that led him to participate in Bluffton music and drama activities, which now occupy a lot of his personal time.

e_collierA graduate of Shaker Heights High School near Cleveland, where he lettered in football and basketball and was an all-league standout, Collier was urged to attend Bluffton by another Shaker Heights student, Henry Freeman. He became a four-year football letter winner at Bluffton, earning Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference and NAIA District 22 honors twice. He also was an honorable mention All-American, played in


the All-Ohio Shrine Bowl, was most valuable offensive player and team captain in 1974 and was a member of the 1972 HBCC championship team.

Collier was an assistant football coach at Bluffton from 1985-89 and assistant basketball coach at Bluffton High School from 1986-89. He has also assisted with the Bluffton High School girls’ basketball and volleyball teams, and has served as postmaster of the village of Bluffton.

Volleyball Team ’88

Like the 1985 and 1987 teams before it, the 1988 edition of Beaver volleyball took its place in the Athletics Hall of Fame as one of the finest teams ever at Bluffton. Its 34-4 record equaled the second-best winning percentage (.895) of any Bluffton volleyball team.

Led by NAIA District 22 Coach of the Year Kim Fischer and Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference Player of the Year Deb (Wagner) Hucke, the Beavers won their fifth WBCC title and third District 22 championship. Hucke was named the NAIA National Player of the Week in late October and joined Lori Beck on the District 22 first team. Beck was also named second-team WBCC, while Dawn Harrison joined Hucke on the WBCC first team and received District 22 honorable mention.

After winning the district championship, the team placed second at the NAIA Bi-District tournament. During the regular season, it won the Baldwin-Wallace tournament and was second at the Walsh Invitational. Bluffton fashioned an unbeaten conference record and won its last 10 regular-season matches, also winning 22 straight games during that stretch.

Beck led the WBCC in assists, while Hucke was second in kills. Other team members ranked in conference statistics were Harrison, Mary Kehres, Paula Slaughter, Diane Kempf, Tonya Crowe and Nancy Sawyer.


Joe Urich ’65

The late Joe Urich was a two-year, two-position, first-team all-conference performer for the Bluffton football team in the late 1950s.

Joe UrichPerhaps the best indication of just how good an athlete Urich was for Bluffton is to look at the positions he played: quarterback and middle linebacker. He started at both positions in 1958 and ‘59 and was named first-team Mid-Ohio Conference at each one both years while helping Coach Ken Mast’s teams capture two MOC titles.

In an era when the passing game was rarely used and with Hall of Famer Elbert Dubenion ’59 in the backfield, Urich wasn’t called on to throw the football very often. When he did, however, the results usually brought the fans at Harmon Field to their feet. His career pass efficiency rating of 162.74 still stands as the highest in school history, although he didn’t have enough attempts to rank him in the official Bluffton record book. His play at middle linebacker was equally impressive, as his ability to track down opposing ball carriers was second to none.

At the time of his Hall of Fame induction in 1999, Urich was the only Bluffton quarterback to have averaged more than 10 yards per attempt (10.8). He remains one of a handful to throw more touchdown passes (11) than interceptions (eight) in his Bluffton career.

Urich was an insurance agent for more than 20 years and also coached football at Bluffton in 1985 and earlier, in 1970, at Bluffton High School.

Cynthia (Sindelar ’83) Gilbert

Cynthia (Sindelar) Gilbert made her mark on Bluffton athletics as a four-year letter winner in three sports in the early 1980s. She starred in volleyball, basketball and softball, and is a member of one team in the Athletics Hall of Fame—the 1981-82 women’s basketball squad she co-captained as a junior.

c_gilbert_hatGilbert was a powerful attacker for Coach Kim Fischer’s volleyball teams from 1979-82, but was exceptional at all positions on the court. In her senior season, she was named first-team All-NAIA District 22 after leading Bluffton to the 1982 district championship and a 25-7 record. She led the team in kills (53), aces (13), serve reception percentage (.804) and digs (195) that season and was a team leader in almost every statistic throughout her four-year career.

On the basketball court, Gilbert was ranked as high as 14th on Bluffton’s all-time scoring list and seventh on the all-time steals list. Her 155 points as a freshman was the eighth-best point total for a first-year player in Bluffton history, and she was the 11th player to score more than 1c_gilbert_beaver00 points in four straight seasons. Gilbert twice led her team in assists and free throw percentage, and she is one of only a handful of juniors to serve as a Bluffton captain.

A softball infielder, Gilbert twice hit over .400 and helped lead Bluffton to the Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference championship her senior year in 1983. The year before, her 25 hits and five triples both led the team.

Gilbert, who earned her master’s degree from Bowling Green State University in 1998, has taught math and computer classes and served as technology coordinator in the Elgin school system in Marion, Ohio. She has also coached volleyball, basketball and softball, and took Elgin to its first-ever state softball tournament appearance.

Kim Fischer

kimfischerWith more victories than any coach in Bluffton history, Kim Fischer took her place in the Athletics Hall of Fame just one year after her departure from campus.

From 1979-97, Fischer guided the Bluffton volleyball program to a 521-229 (.695) record, six Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference championships and one Association of Mideast Colleges championship. She led her teams into postseason action 12 times, capturing NAIA District 22 titles in 1982, 1985 and 1988. Fischer was named WBCC Coach of the Year in 1982, 1984, 1985, 1987 (co) and 1990, and AMC co-Coach of the Year in 1994.

In her 19 seasons as volleyball coach, Fischer’s teams recorded at least 25 wins 13 times and at least 30 wins seven times. Her 1985 and 1987 teams are in the Hall of Fame along with her 1988 team, which was inducted with her in 1999. Those three teams combined for a 107-14 (.884) record.

Fischer served as professor of health, physical education and recreation at Bluffton and assumed the title of associate director of athletics in 1985. She also spent 11 seasons as head women’s basketball coach, notching 114 victories and one WBCC championship, and six seasons as head softball coach, collecting 78 victories and two AMC championships.kimfischer_teambw