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

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

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 ’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.

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.


Allison “Allie” (Thompson ’92) Hall

Alison Thompson HallAlison was a two-sport standout, lettering four years in both volleyball and track. Her accomplishments were rewarded when she was chosen 1992 Female Athlete of the Year at Bluffton.

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.


Emil Knorr ’57

Emil Kne_knorrorr was a two-sport athlete at Bluffton. Knorr played football all four years and was named honorable mention all-conference in 1955. He was co-captain in 1956, when Bluffton won a conference title with Knorr starting at both fullback and defensive end. He also played baseball for the Beavers and was a two-year letter winner.

In 1968, Knorr received his master’s degree in mathematics from Boston College. He taught at both the high school and collegiate levels, including at Hiram College and the Gilmour Academy.

Louis Stokes ’73

Louis Stokes, a Belle Center, Ohio, native, was a standout offensive lineman on Bluffton footl_stokesball teams of the early 1970s. In 1972, the four-year letterman helped lead the Beavers to a conference championship and was named first-team all-NAIA District 22. He also lettered one year each in basketball and baseball. A high school coach from 1973-87, he returned to Bluffton as offensive line coach from 1988-2006 and is now the Beavers’ running backs coach and director of academic support. He has been an adjunct instructor at Bluffton as well.

Stokes received a bachelor’s degree in health and physicall_stokes_action education from Bluffton and, in 1983, a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton. He and his wife Melanie live in Ottawa, where he also taught at Ottawa-Glandorf High School from 1979-2005 and was athletic director for three years.




Mark Froning ’68

Mark Froning was a member of Mid-Ohio Conference (MOC) championship teams in both basketball and baseball and an all-conference markselection in both sports. He is already in the Bluffton Hall of Fame as part of the previously inducted 1965-66 basketball and 1967 baseball teams. Eighth on the career basketball scoring list with 1,414 points, he averaged 17.2 points per game and scored at least 20 points in 39 of his 82 games. He is still first in career freem_froning_glove throws made, with 424, and second in attempts (550). As a junior in 1966-67, Froning was named second-team NAIA District 22 as well as first-team all-MOC.

Graduating from Bluffton with a psychology degree, Froning became a teacher and coach in Fremont, Ohio. In 1973, he added a master’s degree in school psychology from Bowling Green State University and embarked on a 30-year career in Findlay City Schools, first as a school psychologist and then, from 1979-2003, as director of student services. He retired in 2003 and has since been a psychologist at St. Michael School in Findlay.m_froning_hat

Erin (Kurtz ’00) Baker

Erin (Kurtz) Baker remains in the top five in 11 pitching statistics for a Bluffton softball career. Her rankings include second E_bakerin opponents’ batting average (.216) and shutouts (tied, with nine); third in wins (38), strikeouts (365) and complete games (finishing all 64 games she started); and fourth in earned run average (e_baker_glove2.47). Also second on the fielding percentage list (.991) and a .286 hitter during her four years, Baker was named first-team all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in both 1999 and 2000; Most Valuable Player of the 1999 HCAC tournament, won by Bluffton; and conference MVP during the Beavers’ second-place season in 2000.

After receiving her Bluffton bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, the Wooster native was an intervention specialist at Marshallville, Ohio, Elementary School for three years. From 2002-07, she was head softball coach at her alma mater, Smithville High School, where she then went on to be an intervention specialist. She earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Akron in 2009.e_baker_ball