Wilmington College Athletics Hall of Fame to welcome Class of 2007
Miller, Minor, Sczurek, Williams to be inducted
October 20, 2007
Russ Miller, Ed Minor, Greg Sczurek and Stacey Williams comprise the 2007 class of the Wilmington College Athletics Hall of Fame. The group was introduced at halftime of Saturday’s Homecoming football game with Heidelberg and welcomed to the Hall of Fame during an induction dinner Saturday evening.
Russ Miller '66
Russ Miller’s 40-year career in athletic training took him to the stratosphere of collegiate and professional sports, and it all began at Wilmington College.
Miller was introduced to Wilmington College by Kenton High School basketball coach and 1952 WC graduate John Murray.
“We met with football coach Jake Van Schoyck (’50),” Miller said. “He said, ‘If you come down here and be my manager/trainer for football, I’ll help you get a job out at Randall. After I got down there I found out that anybody could get a job at Randall. I worked three days a week and went to school.”
During his undergraduate days at Wilmington, Miller served as athletic trainer for every sport, and was hired as the College’s first full-time athletic trainer in 1966. His years at Wilmington were spartan, but rewarding. His Whittier Court accommodations included “a whirlpool, a heat lamp, a table and a white cabinet.” It was, he said, a time of trial and error.
Apparently the trials produced success as well as error. In 1967, Miller was named head athletic trainer at DePauw University. The move to the Hoosier state also allowed him to finish his Master’s at Indiana University.
In 1969, Western Kentucky University named Miller its first-ever full-time athletic trainer. At the tender age of 26, he was breathing daily the rarified air of big-time collegiate athletics.
Western Kentucky kept a tight grasp on Miller until he went to the University of Kentucky in 1978 to complete his physical therapy degree. After spending a year at Kentucky, a man from Michigan named Schembechler called.
“Taking the Michigan job got me back close to family. That was important,” Miller said. “We were here for 12 years under Bo. Then Bo left and went with the Detroit Tigers as their president. He offered me the opportunity to come over and be the medical director.”
After his stint with the University of Michigan, Miller spent 12 years with the Tigers, ending an unparalleled career, rooted in the green and white of Wilmington College.
“When I go back to Wilmington now and see what (WC Athletic Training Program Director) Larry Howard and some of the people before him accomplished and where the program is, I get goose bumps, I glow,” Miller said. “I feel so proud just to have been a very, very small part of it.”
Miller and his wife Carole reside in Ypsilanti, Mich. They have two sons, Darik and Brandon; and three grandchildren.
Ed Minor '82
Ed Minor was a safety on Wilmington’s 1980 NAIA national runner-up football team. During that storied season he plucked a then school record eight interceptions. He was an All-America selection in 1981 after setting the team career interception mark with 11.
Under the guidance of head coach Bill Ramseyer, Minor’s teams compiled a 26-13 record and set the standard by which future Wilmington football teams would be judged. It was an incredible career that could have hit the skids early had it not been for Minor’s brother, Ken ’73, an All-American at Wilmington in the late 1960s and a 2002 WC Athletics Hall of Fame inductee.
“When I came out of high school, I was only about 5-9, 155 pounds,” Minor said. “My first year of summer camp, I almost quit after the first week because I got beat up so badly. I called Ken and said, ‘It’s not working out. I’m getting murdered up here. I’m ready to quit.’ He said, ‘Well, if you’re going to quit, then you better start walking because I’m not coming to get you.’ My father passed away when I was 15, so my brother was a father figure for me. That was the biggest lesson I learned at Wilmington. If you have a dream like that, it can happen. You just can’t quit.”
The Minors will represent the second sibling tandem in Wilmington’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Karl and Reinhold Finkes were inducted in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Ed Minor said he would share the honor with a team he played for that was filled with both character and characters.
“That’s really what made us click,” Minor said. “We had so many different characters. It was just a joy. It was fun. You would just laugh at people. It made coming to practice and traveling fun. Coach Ramseyer did a great job of keeping us together. This is a team award. If teams were beating us, there’s no way I get those interceptions and there’s no way that I’m standing up there giving that speech in the Hall of Fame.”
Minor lives in Gainesville, Fla., and is the owner of Safeguard printing company.
Greg Sczurek '92
Greg Sczurek brought a new look to Wilmington College soccer. At 6-3, the forward from Broadview Heights was a tall target player that opposing defenses had no answer for. Head coach Bud Lewis knew he had a future star on campus; the challenge was where to let him shine.
“Actually, when I came to Wilmington our goalkeeper was ineligible, and Bud trained me for about a week at goalkeeper, due to my height,” Sczurek said. “I was pretty scared. Coming out of high school I didn’t see myself as a keeper, and now I have goalie gloves and a goalie uniform on and I’m diving around the field. I thought this was something I didn’t want. Fortunately, after about five trainings, Bud said, ‘You’re not a keeper.’”
What Sczurek became was a forward who rarely lost possession of the ball and usually rifled shots or distributed passes that resulted in goals. He credited his growth to, in part, playing in the shadows of WC greats Rick Gilhart and Gregg Ayers.
“Rick was a big, strong, solid guy. I learned from him how to read the game,” Sczurek said. “He read the game extremely well. That was a big learning curve for me, to gain an extra step by reading the game. Gregg was a tremendous athlete. I didn’t have his speed, but his quickness and touches on the ball really taught me a lot.”
Sczurek’s numbers at Wilmington are undeniable. He ranks third in all-time assists (33), eighth in career goals (39) and sixth in career points (111). His 16 assists in 1990 still stand as the WC single-season record. During his four years at Wilmington, the Quakers’ aggregate record was 55-22-6.
“Bud would tell me to be more selfish and try to score, but it didn’t matter to me whether I put the ball in the goal or had the assist — winning was important,” Sczurek said.
Sczurek’s soccer career continued beyond Wilmington. He played professionally for the Dayton Dynamo, St. Louis Ambush, Detroit Rockers and Cincinnati Cheetahs.
“There’s nothing like the memories I have from Wilmington,” Sczurek said. “When you step on the Wilmington College soccer field, it’s night time and there’s a little dew on the ground — it’s just a feeling you can’t describe.
Sczurek works for Valco Cincinnati Inc. He and his wife Nicole (Donohue) Sczurek ’02 reside in Liberty Township. They have a daughter Parker, 4; and a son Aidan, 2.
Stacey Williams '97
Stacey Williams came to Wilmington in search of a complete student-athlete experience. She left the WC campus as one of the most celebrated student-athletes in the College’s history.
A three-sport phenomenon, Williams was a defensive star on the basketball court, a blur on the track and an unstoppable force on the soccer pitch.
“Being at Wilmington was the best chapter of my life,” Williams said. The time I had with my teammates was my most precious time in college. We had so many talented people on our team. My dad videotaped all our games. I’m so happy he did that. I know I can’t relive the moment, but you can always look back and see all of my teammates out on the field and remember the feelings that you had as a team.”
Coached by Steve Spirk '82, Williams was the driving force behind Wilmington’s first appearance in the NCAA Division III Championships in 1994. The Lady Quakers returned to the national tournament in 1996, and Williams again led the charge. For her career, she was a three-time All-American and smashed virtually every offensive record at Wilmington. She scored record 98 goals and tops the team’s all-time points list with 228.
Williams hit the books as hard as she pounded enemy goals. She was a three-time Academic All-American and was named the Ohio NCAA Woman of the Year in 1997. A good grade, she said, felt as good as a good shot.
“I remember studying by flashlight coming back from road games,” she said. “Two of my most challenging professors were Sharon Sims and Don Troike. I would pull all-nighters to study and get a good grade. I took a lot of pride in being successful on the field, but I also wanted to be the best student I could be. When I’d get a paper back that had an ‘A’ on it, that gave me the same feelings as a student that I had on the field when our team would win or if I scored a goal.”
After nine years as a health and physical education instructor and girls soccer coach at Lebanon High School, Williams now teaches health and physical education at her alma mater, Monroe High School, and serves as the assistant director of training for the Warren County Soccer Club. She and her son Collin and daughter Sarah reside in Monroe.