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A Legend Celebrated

4 June 2009 No Comment

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Coach Dave Maurer

In 40 years as a coach, athletics administrator and professor at Wittenberg University, winning never got old for Dave Maurer or the student-athletes who still love him today. As a coach and an educator, Maurer was known for his ability to get more out of his students and athletes than they ever thought possible while connecting with them personally as a mentor and friend.

Dave inspired all of his student-athletes to be the best,” said President Mark H. Erickson. “In the process, Dave has literally shaped the lives of generations of Wittenberg graduates, preparing them for success on the field and in life.”

His career, which included 14 Ohio Athletic Conference football championships as a head coach and assistant coach and an .842 winning percentage, culminated with induction into the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1991, the first “true” NCAA Division III coach to garner such recognition.

To cement his legacy, Wittenberg joined together with numerous student-athletes and colleagues last year to celebrate the Hall of Famer’s countless contributions to the university, his unending passion for his work and his dedication to student athletes. The Nov. 1 event was aptly called Dave Maurer Day and was coordinated by the Committee to Honor Dave Maurer, which All-American offensive lineman Steve Drongowski ’74 chaired along with co-chairs Roy Allen ’63, Ron Duncan ’66,
Jack Henkle ’62 and Tom Prior ’62. Additional committee members included Jim Donnellon ’79, Bob Hamilton ’63, Bill Hauser ’78, Gene Miller ’65, Doug Moore ’76, Jay Reis ’68, Scott “Muddy” Watters ’87, Jim Logue, Paul Valente and Head Football Coach Joe Fincham.

President Mark H. Erickson reads a proclamation from Wittenberg in honor of Dave Maurer, Nov. 1.

President Mark H. Erickson reads a proclamation from Wittenberg in honor of Dave Maurer, Nov. 1.

Together, they unanimously agreed not only to coordinate the special day, but also to spearhead a fundraising initiative to create a scholarship in Maurer’s name.

“Besides organizing Dave Maurer Day, the committee worked very hard to develop a permanent way of honoring Coach Maurer,” Allen said. “This will be an endowed scholarship, which means it will live on permanently throughout the life of the university, carrying Dave’s name and rewarding students who live up to the values of Dave Maurer and the students that he touched.”

For the hundreds of former student-athletes, family members, friends and colleagues in attendance throughout the day as well as the first recipient of the new Dave Maurer Honorary Scholarship Brad McKinley ’11, the event will be forever remembered.

Brad McKinley '11 was awarded the first-ever Dave Maurer Honorary Scholarship at the event.

Brad McKinley '11 was awarded the first-ever Dave Maurer Honorary Scholarship at the event.

“I read through the tributes that Coach Maurer’s former players have been posting,” said McKinley, referring to a special Web site created to display video clips, photo galleries, news releases, a proclamation from Wittenberg and those from elected officials, and a page that now includes dozens of personal tributes. “I was struck by the impact he had on so many of them – time and again I read about how he turned boys into men. They have so much respect for him.”

“For a man who has given his life, his heart, and his soul to this university, I am not sure we can ever adequately express the deep gratitude and thanks of this university,” Erickson said at the moving evening tribute. “But we will do our best. On behalf of all Wittenbergers past and present, I thank you for the many gifts you have given to Wittenberg – the gifts of your time, your talent and your passion.

“As I have traveled around the world meeting with Wittenberg alumni, I always ask them to tell me about the person who had the greatest impact on their lives,” Erickson continued. “The name I hear more often than any other is Dave Maurer.

“Thank you Coach Maurer. I pledge to you that Wittenberg will do all it can to live up to the legacy you have provided and the standard you have set.”

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