June 1, 1985
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - Twelve coaches and athletes who not only first established the athletic tradition at Wittenberg University but also helped shape Ohio sports history were inducted as the initial charter members of the newly established Wittenberg Athletics Hall of Honor in ceremonies Friday evening on campus. A highlight of the university's Alumni Weekend, the Hall of Honor dinner included the unveiling of the plaques honoring the 12, which will be mounted in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Center.
Named by a committee of faculty, staff and alumni, chaired by Robert E. Rosencrans., director of men's athletics, those inducted were: David L. Beach, class of '62; Robert L. Cherry, '64; Raymond O. Detrick, '21 (deceased); Betty D Dillahunt, '46; William M. Edwards, '31; Wilbur G. Etter, '21; Ernest Godfrey (deceased), Charles H. Green, '65; Ruth M. Helsel; Ronald L. Lancaster, '60; Howard E. Maurer, '30 and William J. Trautwein, '21 (deceased). Chosen from approximately 100 nominees, these former athletes and coaches were elected because they exemplify the very best of Wittenberg's athletic tradition. Each compiled a distinguished record while here. If Miami (Ohio) University calls itself the "Cradle of Coaches" then Wittenberg has to be at least the "Crib of Coaches." Five of the inductees earned national reputations as coaches at Wittenberg or after they left.
After earning his reputation as an All-America center at Wittenberg in 1929, Bill Edwards began his 51-year coaching career at Springfield High School in 1931, and in 1933 became head football at Western Reserve University, where in six years, his teams posted a 49-6-6 record, including three undefeated seasons. Edwards became the head coach of the Detroit Lions in 1941, and in 1942 his team moved from the cellar to third-place in the NFL standings. His wide experience also included stints as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Browns under his old schoolmate Paul Brown, athletic director and head football coach at Vanderbilt University, and assistant coach at the University of North Carolina. In his 14-year career as Wittenberg's head coach from 1955-1969, Edwards' teams compiled a 98-20-4 record and won two national championships.
"Dete" Detrick was hired as head basketball coach at Mount Union College in 1922 after earning All-Ohio basketball honors at Wittenberg for three consecutive seasons. At Mount Union, he led his teams to three Ohio Conference Championships. In 1925 Detrick moved to Ohio Wesleyan University as the head basketball and baseball coach, as well as assistant football coach. In his 13 years as basketball coach at OWU, his teams won or tied for nine championships in the old Buckeye Conference and posted a 161-89 record.
"Dutch" Trautwein, after a football and basketball career at Wittenberg in which he was named All-Ohio in both sports, spent five years as an assistant football coach at Wittenberg and then moved to Ohio University in 1928 as a football line coach. He was also hired as an assistant basketball coach and baseball coach. From 1929 through 1933, Ohio University won 37 of 44 games. He also helped OU to seven Buckeye Conference Championships. In 1938, he became head basketball coach and in 11 years his teams won 135 of 196 games, with only one losing season. His 1941 basketball team reached the finals of the National Invitational Tournament.
Ernie Godfrey was Wittenberg's first full-time football and basketball coach as well as athletic director. In 11 years as football coach at Wittenberg, he compiled a 63-24-6 overall record, including undefeated seasons in 1918,1919, and 1920. Only once did his teams fail to win the old Buckeye Conference title. Godfrey also guided the Wittenberg basketball team to five straight winning seasons including an 11-1 record in 1922. A standout football and basketball player at Ohio State University, Godfrey returned to his alma mater in 1929 as an assistant football coach until his retirement in 1962. He developed 11 All-America interior linemen at Ohio State and one, Bill Edwards, at Wittenberg. The immortal Knute Rockne of Notre Dame once said that Godfrey was "the best line coach in the country."
"Red" Maurer was one of the nation's outstanding college baseball coaches until his retirement in 1975. His teams won eight conference baseball championships and three NCAA Mideast championships. In 1969, he was NCAA District "Coach of the Year" and his record after 26 years as the baseball mentor was an impressive 223-146, a .604 winning percentage. Maurer is also one of the winningest coaches in Wittenberg sports history with a combined total of 304 victories in football, basketball and baseball.
Others were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor for their prowess on the playing field or contributions to Wittenberg athletics.
Ruth Helsel was a teacher and coach at Wittenberg for 43 years and was named to the Hall of Honor for her contributions to the total program of physical education and athletics. Helsel joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1925, and in 1954 she was named to head the department of health and physical education. She founded and organized the sport and play days at Wittenberg during World War II.
Betty Dillahunt, who was a teacher, coach and women's athletic director at Wittenberg for 36 years, was perhaps the finest female athlete in Ohio history. Dillahunt won the Springfield women's golf title eight times, earning her last crown in 1973. Also a renowned softball pitcher, she played in seven world championships, hurling a total of 14 no-hit games in a 25-year career. She was also a top field hockey player and competed 19 times in national tournaments, several times earning all-star status. A restless competitor, she was also a perennial entry in Ohio badminton and tennis tournaments. In her career, she coached nine different sports at Wittenberg and founded the field hockey program.
"Wib" Etter was best known as an All-Ohio halfback in 1918, 1919 and 1920 when the Tigers posted a 20-0-2 overall record. In his senior year, Etter set four conference records which still stand: eight touchdowns and 58 points in one game against Hiram College, as well as 23 touchdowns and 170 points in one season. He was also an All-Ohio guard in basketball. Etter played on the Rainbow squad All-Star football team his senior year, where one of his teammates was the legendary Jim Thorpe.
Bob Cherry, who is the only man in Wittenberg history to win four letters in each of three sports, is considered by many to be the greatest all-around athlete in Wittenberg history. In football, he set six Ohio Conference records and several Wittenberg records as a receiver. He was named to the All-Ohio and Little All-America football teams and received the Ohio Conference's Mike Gregory Award as the league's outstanding lineman. An All-OAC performer as a basketball center for the Tigers, Cherry ranks 21st on the all-time Wittenberg scoring list with 888 points. Cherry was a UPI honorable mention All-America in 1963-64 and led the Tigers to the College Division runner-up that season. In track, Cherry won the NCAA high hurdles title in 1963 and scored over 100 points in dual meets that year. The captain of the team, Cherry also won the Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd award by winning six first places and scoring 33 points in one meet.
Ron Lancaster is best remembered as a standout football quarterback on the 1956-59 squads, which posted a 25-8-1 record and won the Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championship in 1958. He was named first-team All-OAC in 1957, and he was captain and most valuable player his senior year. After graduation, Lancaster went on to play professionally in the Canadian Football League and holds nearly every career passing record there. He passed for more career yardage than Johnny Unitas with 50,535 total yards. Lancaster played for the Saskatchewan Rough Riders for 16 years, winning five Grey Cup Championships and earning Canadian "Player of the Year" in 1970 and 1976. He will be inducted into the Canadian Hall of Fame this summer, becoming the first Wittenberg graduate to be selected for a major professional Hall of Fame.
Charlie Green was perhaps the finest quarterback, in his undergraduate days, in Wittenberg football history. Green was named All-Ohio Conference from 1962 through 1964, and was also the Mike Gregory Award winner (presented to the best back in the conference) in both 1963 and '64. He was the co-captain for the 1964 national championship squad, and he led the Tigers to the national championship in 1962 as well. During his career, Green established 14 OAC records, several of which still stand, including 5,575 yards passing for a career, 2,182 passing yards in a season and 61 touchdown passes for a career.
Dave Beach competed in wrestling, swimming and tennis at Wittenberg and is best known as a tennis player. He lettered and played No. 1 singles all four years and was named his team's MVP in three of those years. He went on to coach tennis at Wittenberg after graduating and his teams compiled a 153-50 record in 19 years. Beach also continued playing tennis and was a two-time Dayton City singles champion, and the Montgomery County 35-and-over singles champion six straight years from 1976-81. He is now in his 11th year as the tennis pro for the city of Springfield, and he was inducted into the Dayton Tennis Hall of Fame in 1983.