The Elizabethtown College athletic program through the years: the 1960s

Megan Piercy October 28, 2017 0

Elizabethtown College’s athletic program was off to a strong start in the fall of 1960 with the men’s soccer team winning its first national championship. The Blue Jays did not win the MAC championships again, but they did make it to the national championship where they tied 2-2 with Newark College of Engineering to share the national title. Following the season, Warner Cheeks, ’61, and Carroll Hershey, ’61, became the first Etown All-Americans. The men set a school record with six consecutive MAC titles between 1962 and 1967 and had players earn All-American honors eight times throughout the decade.

The field hockey team also flourished throughout the 60s. In the fall of 1961, the team went 8-0 and, never allowing a goal, finished the season outscoring their opponents 41-0. Despite their impressive record, there was no post-season for women’s sports at this time, so the team never got the opportunity to play for an official title. Eight members from this team were given All-State honors and in 1962, Lisa Eshleman, ’63, was the first Etown field hockey player to be named an All-American.

The men’s basketball team won its first conference title in the 1963-1964 season and set a team record for wins, 20-5, which stood for almost 40 years. The next season, Dan Reitmeyer, ’65, set a program record of 1,219 career rebounds that still stands today.

Women’s tennis was added to the Etown athletic program in the spring of 1961 under the direction of Coach Julia Risser. Men’s and women’s swimming was added in the winter of 1964-1965, coached by John Tulley and Ruth Nearing, respectively. Golf was the third and final team added to the program, playing its first season in 1965.

Other highlights throughout the decade include the cross country team going 11-1 to earn their first MAC title and Earl Brinser, ’69, becoming the first Etown All-American wrestler in 1968. The baseball team also found success, earning their first MAC title in 1964. In three seasons, Etown pitcher Ray Diener, ’65, struck out 264, setting a career record that has yet to be broken.

The 60s also marked the end of an era for Etown athletics with the retirement of Coach Herr, the man who started it all. In 1970, the men’s and women’s soccer field was named after Coach Herr, and his contribution to Etown athletics is still remembered today.


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