Oct. 25, 2005SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Eight Wittenberg University greats will be inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Honor during Homecoming Weekend ceremonies, Oct. 28-30. Tom Atchison, class of 1982, Matt Croci, class of 1994, Margaret Grammas Postak, class of 1988, Gayle Goettman Kirkpatrick, class of 1984, Paul Sutter, class of 1987, Randy Sturtz, class of 1972, Bill Varble, class of 1955, and Melinda Wigton Cathey, class of 1982, will join 151 other athletes who have been selected for this prestigious honor throughout the last 20 years.
The honorees will be formally inducted into the Athletics Hall of Honor at a banquet on Friday, Oct. 28. They will also be honored by Wittenberg's loyal fans during halftime at the Homecoming football game against Ohio Wesleyan the next day, which kicks off at newly refurbished Edwards-Maurer Field at 1 p.m.
Wittenberg men's golf was among the premier programs in NCAA Division III for more than 20 years, and Tom Atchison was one of the reasons. A four-year letterwinner and three-year team captain and most valuable player, Atchison led the Tigers to two Ohio Athletic Conference titles and was among a select few Wittenberg athletes to reach national tournament competition in each of his four seasons as a collegian. Atchison earned All-OAC honors in each of his four years in the Red & White, highlighted by a first-place finish in 1981. He also earned All-America three times in his collegiate career, capped by third-team All-America honors in 1982 with a 17th-place finish in the national tournament. A native and current resident of Stow, Ohio, Atchison graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in management and has gone on to enjoy great success as a golf professional, working at several clubs and winning regional tournaments.
Matt Croci is one of the greats in the storied history of Wittenberg men's basketball. A four-year letterwinner, Croci claimed team most valuable player and first-team All-North Coast Athletic Conference honors in 1993 and 1994. As a senior, Croci led the Tigers to the only undefeated regular season in school history en route to NCAC Player of the Year and third-team All-America honors. Croci, who holds school records for three-pointers made and attempted in a season, topped the squad with 18.9 points per game as Wittenberg marched all the way to a third-place finish in the 1994 NCAA Division III Tournament. In Croci's four years as a collegian, the Tigers compiled a 98-18 record, including a school-record mark of 30-2 in 1994, and won four regular season conference titles and two NCAC Tournament crowns. He ranks ninth in career assists, 11th in career points and seventh in season points. A native of Maumee, Ohio, Croci earned his Wittenberg degree in English. He is now the head men's basketball coach at Kenyon College and resides in Lewis Center, Ohio.
Margaret Grammas Postak
One look at the Wittenberg women's basketball record book confirms Margaret Grammas Postak's impact. During her career, Postak and the Tigers went from last place in the OAC in 1986-87 to a 26-3 overall record and a perfect 11-0 mark in the NCAC in 1989-90. Sixteen years later, the Wittenberg women's basketball program has not had another losing season. The team's most valuable player and team captain in 1989 and 1990, Postak was an honorable mention All-OAC honoree in 1988 and a second-team All-NCAC honoree in 1990. She holds school records for field goals attempted in a season and a career and free throw percentage in a game, and she ranks third in career field goals made and career points with 1,209 and fourth in career rebounds with 658. A native of Wadsworth, Ohio, Postak earned her Wittenberg degree in health and physical education. She now resides in Lewis Center, Ohio.
Gayle Goettman Kirkpatrick
Gayle Goettman Kirkpatrick is the most accomplished women's tennis player in Wittenberg history, and she has the unique distinction of becoming the first daughter of a Wittenberg University Athletics Hall of Honor inductee to earn the same such recognition. Kirkpatrick's father is Bill Goettman, a multi-sport athlete at Wittenberg before graduating in 1954 who later served as the university's team physician for many years. She played No. 1 singles and doubles while serving as team captain in 1982 and 1983 after transferring back to her hometown from Wake Forest University. Kirkpatrick led the Tigers to an OAISW Division III Ohio team championship in 1983 and earned team most valuable player honors two straight years. She compiled a singles record of 13-2, won the state title in both singles and doubles and finished sixth in the NCAA Division III Tournament in 1983, the best individual national finish in the program's history. Since graduating from Wittenberg with a degree in management, Kirkpatrick has remained active in the sport, winning the Clark County Louis Heil Tennis Tournament singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles an unprecedented five straight years. She now resides in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Those who know say there has never been a better fielding first baseman in Wittenberg baseball history than Randy Sturtz. In three of his four seasons in the Red & White, Sturtz played errorless baseball, and in 1972, his bat came around as well with a .396 batting average in addition to his 1.000 fielding percentage. That combination earned Sturtz first-team All-OAC, first-team All-Great Lakes District and first-team All-America honors following his senior season. A four-year starter, Sturtz, who led the Tigers to three winning seasons, hit better than .300 in three of his four collegiate seasons and ranked among the OAC leaders in home runs and runs batted in 1971. Then in 1972, he ranked seventh in the conference in batting average. A native of North Robinson, Ohio, Sturtz graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in economics. He currently resides in Fairborn, Ohio.
Nearly two decades after he last represented Wittenberg in the pool, men's swimming and diving standout Paul Sutter still looms large in the HPER Center Natatorium. He remains the program's most accomplished distance swimmer, as evidenced by his school records in the 500-, 1,000- and 1,650-yard freestyle events that still hold today. The team's most valuable swimmer three times in his four seasons in the Red & White, Sutter was also an NCAA Division III national meet qualifier in 1985 and 1987, when he advanced to the national meet in three events and earned a pair of honorable mention All-America honors. During his career, Sutter held school records in five individual events and was a member of three record-setting relay teams. A native of Sandusky, Ohio, Sutter graduated from Wittenberg with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry in 1987. He is now a chaplain with the United States Air Force in Tampa, Fla.
Bill Varble did it all during his Wittenberg career. Despite working eight-hour night shifts much of each school year to support not only his educational goals, but his wife and children, Varble had few peers at the halfback position, earning varsity letters for football in 1950, '52 and '53. He earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors in 1950 and 1953, and in his final season on the gridiron, Varble collected team most valuable player honors. He also played two years of junior varsity basketball, two years of varsity baseball in 1953 and '54 and even participated in the OAC track and field championship meet in 1954 after the baseball season had concluded. After graduating from Wittenberg with a degree in education, Varble taught and coached at Shelby (Ohio) High School for 32 years, compiling a 90-29 record as the head football coach for 12 years. As both a head coach and an assistant in football and track and field, Varble was part of 23 conference championship teams at Shelby prior to his recent retirement.
Melinda Wigton Cathey
Though small in stature, Melinda Wigton Cathey assumes a significant place in the history of Wittenberg women's basketball. A four-year letterwinner and starter, Cathey, a 5-3 guard, helped the Tigers to an 8-9 record as a senior in 1981-82, the program's best mark in six years, by averaging 10.9 points and 3.4 assists per game. After the season, Cathey became the only player in the program's history to earn first-team Academic All-America honors. Cathey averaged double figures in scoring all four years in the Red & White, including 1979-80, when she poured in 16.9 points per game and set a school record for points in a game with 35 tallies against Central State. At the conclusion of the season, Cathey was named team most valuable player. After graduating from Wittenberg with a 3.92 grade point average in psychology, Cathey was the only NCAA Division III player selected to play on the 1983-84 Athletes in Action (AIA) touring team. She averaged 2.2 points and led the team with 16 steals while appearing in all 14 games for the AIA team on its 1983 tour of Japan, China, Macao and Hong Kong. Cathey, who now resides in Cottage Grove, Minn., was the founder and director of a residential transitional care program for Russian orphans in St. Petersburg, Russia, for 10 years. She now helps coach a high school team that includes her daughter, which finished 24-0 last year and won a conference championship.