31st Class enters Hall of Fame

31st Class enters Hall of Fame

TIFFIN – Memories were shared in the Wickham Great Hall on Friday evening as the 31st Induction Ceremony for the Heidelberg University Athletics Hall of Fame was held. John Rhoades '90, Bethany Zuchowski Rust '92 and Adam Koppin '00 were honored for their achievements while at Heidelberg.

Presenting Koppin for induction, former Heidelberg track & field coach Larry Brown spoke about the journey that led the four-time All-American to Tiffin.

"Adam was getting many scholarship offers, but Heidelberg was one of the only schools that would allow him to run and be a music education major," said Brown, who coached the 1999 outdoor track team to an OAC title.

Koppin, who advanced to the NCAA Cross Country Championships all four years at The Berg, spoke of many memories on campus and on the tracks around Ohio. Now living and working in Florida, Koppin thanked his family.

"My parents would drive for hours to watch me run a race that would last for a few minutes," said Koppin, who received a big bear hug from his seven-year-old son Caleb after his speech. "I was well aware of their sacrifice, and I just want to say thank you."

Zuchowski Rust, Heidelberg volleyball's only three-time First Team All-OAC honoree, was presented by her former coach, Jani Oder-Yanni.

"Bethany was the kind of athlete that made her teammates better," said Yanni-Oder, head coach from 1984-1991. "She was a great example ... a great role model for everyone."

Accompanied by her family and friends, Zuchowski Rust expressed her gratitude for her experience at Heidelberg.

"I am proud to say that I am a Heidelberg graduate," she said. "The amount of support I received from the staff and faculty helped me be successful."

Zuchowski Rust closed with her advice to future generations of Student Princes.

"Work hard, be well and stay grateful ... good things will come," Zuchowski Rust concluded.

Paul Ward '89, a 2011 Hall of Fame inductee, presented his friend and former teammate Rhoades for induction. Citing Rhoades' prowess as an All-American pole vaulter, a three-year varsity football player and his contributions with the Heidelberg Water Quality Lab, Ward considered his friend to be one of the most productive student-athletes since the 1850 founding of the institution.

Ward went on to describe Rhoades' block of a potential game-winning field goal in the final game of the 1988 season. The win propelled the Tricolor to its first +.500 conference record in more than a decade – and handed co-champion Wittenberg its only OAC loss of the year.

Speaking of his time pole vaulting, Rhoades said that his most memorable meet was the prestigious Drake Relays -- and that he didn't even clear the opening height.

"The opening height was 16-3, which was way more than I'd ever cleared," said Rhoades, who was also joined by his family and many former teammates. "On my third try, I barely clipped the bar with my wrist. I watched it bounce and fall off as a I fell to the mat. It was probably the best jump of my life. I was so glad that my coaches pushed us to reach our full potential."

A total of 162 individuals and 11 teams have been enshrined in the Athletic Hall of Fame, which began in 1985.  The Hall of Fame, along with the nomination form, is available online.