Springfield, Ohio – Five Wittenberg University greats will be inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Honor during 2017 Homecoming Weekend ceremonies, Sept. 15-17, in addition to an alumnus who will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Kris Cooper ’96, Skip Ivery ’04, Joan Miller Milsom ’47, Beth Nowicki Schneider ’98 and Kent Rafey ’98 will join 224 other Wittenberg greats who have previously been inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Honor, while Don Horton ’82 becomes the third recipient of the Athletics Hall of Honor Lifetime Achievement Award.
The honorees will be formally inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor at a banquet on Friday, Sept. 15. They will be introduced to Wittenberg’s loyal fans during halftime of the annual Homecoming football game against Oberlin, which is set to kick off at 3 p.m. the next day at Edwards-Maurer Field.
Kris Cooper is one of the finest pitchers in Wittenberg baseball history. Cooper’s name shows up repeatedly in the Tiger baseball record book, and he still sets the standard in many of the most important pitching categories, including career strikeouts (255) and career victories (29). The Tigers posted a four-year record of 102-53 while Cooper was leading the staff, and he earned the team’s Pitcher of the Year award three times. Cooper picked up two first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) awards in his career, a second-team all-league nod in 1994, and All-Mideast Region accolades in 1994 and 1996. A native of Mount Orab, Ohio, Cooper currently resides in Hamersville, Ohio, with his wife Heather and their children Emily and Ryan.
Skip Ivery is in select company as both a standout on the football field and a national champion on the track. A wide receiver on the gridiron, Ivery was a member of two league championship teams and a contributor to 41 victories in four seasons as he caught 129 passes, which still ranks eighth in program history. On the track, Ivery excelled in sprint events, but he was an all-time great in the hurdles. He won an NCAA Division III title in the 110-meter hurdles, the best of his four All-America finishes to go along with two CoSIDA Academic All-America honors for his work in the classroom. He won six individual NCAC titles and earned a total of 11 All-NCAC awards, capping his career with indoor and outdoor NCAC Sprinter/Hurdler of the Year awards in 2004. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Ivery currently resides in Westerville, Ohio, with his wife Heather and their children Madison and Kennedy.
Joan Miller Milsom was a multi-sport athlete at a time when few women were active in sports. With no intercollegiate athletics opportunity available to her, Milsom took on a leadership role in Wittenberg’s Women’s Athletic Association, participating in various sports “Play Days” with other colleges and excelling particularly in volleyball, basketball, swimming, diving and softball. Milsom also participated in cheerleading during her undergraduate years before embarking on a successful professional career as an artist. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Milsom currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her husband Bob. They have three children, Chris, Rob and Mark, and seven grandchildren.
Beth Nowicki Schneider was a setter for the Tiger women’s volleyball team who engineered one of the most prolific offenses in NCAA Division III history. Schneider dished out 3,319 assists in just two seasons as a Tiger to rank third in program history, and her season total of 1,738 in 1996 ranks 13th in NCAA Division III Side-Out Season Records (1981-2000). Wittenberg posted a combined record of 66-15 in Schneider’s two seasons, including regular season and league tournament titles in 1997 and back-to-back NCAA Division III Tournament berths. Schneider shared NCAC Player of the Year honors in 1997, earned two first-team all-league and all-region designations, and capped her career with All-America accolades in 1997. A native of Bowling Green, Ohio, Schneider currently resides in Gilbert, Ariz., with her husband Mike and their children Audrey, Jack and Mikella.
Kent Rafey is among the best linebackers ever to don the Red & White for the Tiger football team. His career tackle total of 450 ranks second in program history as Rafey led the Tigers to a four-year record of 36-5 overall, including a mark of 27-3 in the NCAC, two first-place finishes in the league, and a berth in the 1995 NCAA Division III Tournament. Rafey earned three straight first-team All-NCAC awards, capped by the Hank Critchfield Award as the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1997, and a pair of All-America honors during his career, and he served as a team captain and claimed the team’s Golden Helmet Award in 1997. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Rafey currently resides in Delaware, Ohio, with his wife Angela, and their children Lainie, Addie and Bella.
Finally, Don Horton is being recognized for an extraordinary professional career that included lengthy stints as an assistant football coach at Boston College and North Carolina State University. He is credited with mentoring dozens of student-athletes who went on to professional football careers before Parkinson's Disease forced him to retire.
Horton was a key contributor to Tiger teams that compiled a four-year record of 37-6-1 between 1978-81, including four Ohio Athletic Conference championships and NCAA Division III runner-up finishes in 1978 and 1979. After making a tremendous impact upon his student-athletes as a coach both on and off the field, Horton and his wife Maura created a line of clothing for people with disabilities called MagnaReady. He remained active in the sport until his passing in 2016. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Horton resided in Raleigh, NC, with Maura and their daughters Libby and Hadley.
Written By: Ryan Maurer