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.
Andy Nowlin graduated from Bluffton in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation management. Nowlin was an outstanding football player offensively as well as a leader on the field. He was a four-year letter winner and earned all-district honors his senior year. He held the NCAA Division III record for longest reception (99 yards) and is at or near the top of the Bluffton record book in numerous offensive categories.
Nowlin is director of recruitment and personnel service for Starr Commonwealth. He has been an active member of the Van Wert, Ohio, American Legion and on the board of directors of Upward Bound and the YMCA Central Ohio Eldon W. Ward Branch, which he has also served as vice-chair. In addition, Nowlin has been active in the Van Wert Optimist Club; tutoring; and the men’s ministry at his church.
A four-year letter winner in volleyball and one-year track participant, Deb (Wagner) Hucke anchored three Western Buckeye Collegiate Conference championship volleyball teams at Bluffton. She earned three All-WBCC selections, three All-NAIA District 22 selections and was the WBCC Player of the Year in 1988.
Hucke’s volleyball career spanned four of Bluffton’s most successful years, which produced a 125-31 overall record for a .801 winning percentage. Bluffton won the WBCC championship in 1987, 1988 and 1989, and in 1988 the Beavers added the NAIA District 22 title. The 1987 and 1988 teams have been enshrined in the Athletics Hall of Fame.
Team success during those years was a result of the play of Hucke, whose performance still ranks among Bluffton’s best. In 1989 she led the team with 129 blocks and a serving percentage of .931. She also ranks high on the all-time lists of single-season kills (305 in 1987 and 271 in 1988); career kills (1,054); career hitting percentage (.192); single-season blocks (129 in 1989 and 115 in 1986); and career blocks (355).
In 1989 she received the Kathryn E. Little Award as the outstanding senior female athlete at Bluffton and was honored as the varsity athlete with the highest scholastic record.
After her graduation, Hucke divided her time as a homemaker and administrator and teacher at Wee Care Day Care in Celina, Ohio. She has also volunteered at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and has devoted time to the Celina Public Preschool.
“Bluffton has shaped the many facets of my life,” she says. “First, my volleyball career helped to intensify my leadership skills, work ethic and love for sports while giving me lasting memories. At the same time, my Bluffton experience led to my current family and various professional opportunities.”
Coached by Kim Fischer, Bluffton’s 1992 softball team posted a 16-6 record and won the Association of Mideast Colleges tournament after placing second in the conference during the regular season. In winning 11 of its last 12 games, Bluffton outscored its opponents 102-44.
Bluffton batted .331 as a team, led by senior Mary Spain’s .465 average. She posted a .634 slugging percentage, drove in 20 runs and scored 32. The team also stole 58 bases in 60 attempts and had a .952 fielding percentage—tied for the best in program history—and a 3.06 earned run average. Senior Kristie Conley posted the best ERA, at 2.29.
As a volleyball player, Hall was twice named all-district, including a first-team selection her senior year, when she was also a team captain. She ranked near the top of the Bluffton career lists for kills, hitting attempts and blocking when she graduated in 1992.
Hall was also a four-year letter winner in track. She was a two-time captain and earned the Unsung Hero Award in 1990. At the time of her graduation, Hall held the school discus record.
She was also a member of the International Student Association during each of her four years and was a resident adviser in Hirschy Hall for one year.
Alison has used the education and leadership she gained at Bluffton to positively influence the lives of children as a health and physical education teacher in Ohio and Illinois. Her community activities have included the development of a Fellowship of Christian Athletes group in Greenville, Ill.; membership on a community health committee; and leadership in Bible study groups.
Kimberly (Spiegel) Mutchler, Bucyrus, Ohio, had a decorated career at Bluffton in both volleyball and track and field.
She participated in volleyball for four years, earning two letters. She averaged 2.66 kills per game, and her career total of 806 kills ranks 16th all-time at Bluffton.
Mutchler also participated in track and field for four years, earning all-district honors in 1991 and 1992. She continues to hold the second-best high-jump height of 5’3″.
Mutchler is an elementary teacher in Bucyrus City Schools.
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.
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.
Jennifer 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.
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
Dave 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 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.
With 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.