Posted by: Ryan Maurer
Springfield, Ohio — After a whirlwind three-month fund-raising effort that netted more than $100,000 in contributions, the first-ever Dave Maurer Honorary Scholarship was awarded to football standout Brad McKinley, class of 2011 from Hilliard, Ohio, during a moving tribute program at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Wittenberg University's HPER Center.
The Dave Maurer Honorary Scholarship, named for the legendary coach, athletics administrator and professor, will be awarded annually to a sophomore, junior or senior male student with financial need who has demonstrated such qualities as self-discipline, teamwork, cooperation, hard work, self-confidence, pride in accomplishment, competitive spirit, and the ability to deal with adversity. It is a tuition scholarship that may be renewable on an annual basis or may be rotated, per the committee's discretion.
Click here for the Dave Maurer tribute page.
McKinley, a middle linebacker, was the 2007 North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) Newcomer of the Year after compiling a team- and conference-leading 120 tackles in his freshman season. His tackle total was the highest in all NCAA Division III amongst freshmen. In 2008, he has helped the Tigers to a 6-2 record after today's 23-0 win over Denison, contributing a team-leading 90 tackles, seven passes broken up and an interception.
An education major, McKinley said he was honored to be the first recipient of the Dave Maurer Honorary Scholarship.
"After I found out about the scholarship, I started reading through the tributes that Coach Maurer's former players have been posting on the Web site," said McKinley, also a member of the Tiger track and field team. "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.
"It reminded me of what I hope to accomplish here at Wittenberg. I want to come out of here a humble, successful man, and there's no way I can do that without someone being there to mentor me the way Coach Maurer mentored them. He was tough on his players, but he was also a father figure, just like (Wittenberg Football) Coach (Joe) Fincham has been there for me."
Maurer remains one of the most beloved Wittenberg leaders and mentors in the illustrious history of the university's varsity athletics program, especially among the student-athletes he guided on and off the field during his 40 years (1955-95) as an athletics administrator, professor and coach of the Tiger football, swimming, track and field, and golf teams.
Maurer led the Tigers to three football national championships as the head coach and served as assistant coach for two other national title teams. In addition, the 1978 and 1979 squads finished second in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Maurer earned national coach of the year honors twice, district coach of the year four times and conference coach of the year five times. His career culminated with induction into the National College Football Hall of Fame in 1991, the first "true" NCAA Division III coach to garner such recognition.
After more than a decade as an assistant football coach, Maurer took the reins in 1969 from fellow National College Football Hall of Famer, Bill Edwards. Maurer posted a career record of 129-23-3, good for an astounding .842 winning percentage, best among active coaches at that time. His Tiger teams went undefeated three times and won seven Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) championships in his 15 seasons as head coach, to go along with seven OAC crowns during his years as an assistant coach.
Winning in life and on the field never got old for Dave Maurer or the student-athletes who still love him today. Maurer's knack for getting the most out of the players he coached and the students he taught at Wittenberg was rivaled only by his ability to connect with them personally as a mentor. His players consistently describe him as a brilliant tactician and a mentor who inspired them to work hard, persevere, prepare and believe in themselves.
The Committee to Honor Dave Maurer was headed by Chairman Steve Drongowski, class of 1974, Co-Chairs Roy Allen, class of 1963, Ron Duncan, class of 1966, Jack Henkle, class of 1962, and Tom Prior, class of 1962. The rest of the committee included Jim Donnellon, class of 1979, Bob Hamilton, class of 1963, Bill Hauser, class of 1978, Gene Miller, class of 1965, Doug Moore, class of 1976, Jay Reis, class of 1968, Scott "Muddy" Watters, class of 1987, Jim Logue, Paul Valente and Head Football Coach Joe Fincham.
During the tribute ceremony, committee members announced that fund-raising efforts will continue, starting with a goal of $200,000 by the end of the year. To make a contribution, contact the Wittenberg Office of Advancement at (937) 327-7414.
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Brad Tucker