A pair of Wilmington High School graduates are members of the Wilmington College Hall of Fame Class of 2017.
Mike Wallace (WHS, Class 1964) and Ashlee Johnson Wolf (WHS, Class of 2003) are among five WC athletes and coaches who will be introduced as the Class of 2017 at halftime of Saturday’s Homecoming football game against Marietta.
Other inductees are Nicole Woods Hurley, Steve Magoteaux and Alex Van Der Sluijs.
The quintet will be formally inducted during a ceremony Saturday as part of Homecoming festivities.
Following are short bios on each of the inductees:
MIKE WALLACE is the second winningest coach in Wilmington College football history and was at the helm of the best football team in Wilmington’s NCAA-era.
However, Wallace eagerly shares the credit.
“I was (at Wilmington) a time we had great players and great coaches,” he said. “All I did was sell an idea and everyone bought in. When you have great people, you win.”
He took over a program with nine players on the roster and four months to build the school’s first NCAA team. The Fightin’ Quakers took the field in 1991 with 36 players and finished 1-9, but it only took two more seasons before WC posted its first winning record.
His teams continued to be explosive offensively throughout his tenure. The top two quarterbacks – statistically – in school history played under Wallace, and the second-best running back did as well. Three of the top five offensive seasons came with Wallace at the helm.
Wallace coached seven Hall of Famers in his illustrious career.
The great people around him embraced his ideas and the metaphors that he constantly preached to his teams. For Wallace, every big game was a 15-round title fight, and each team was going to throw and land some big punches – but you had to persevere.
Wallace fought, bobbed and weaved, and now that the bell has rung – he is standing tall as a champion; and as a Hall of Famer.
ASHLEY WOLF, Class of 2007, is now the second Hall of Famer in her household and becomes a part of the first husband and wife tandem to grace the Wilmington College Hall of Fame.
From the time she walked across the stage at graduation, this moment was inevitable. She is one of the most acclaimed track and field athletes in Wilmington College history and she has the honor of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
She claimed the 2006 NCAA Division III Outdoor National Championship and is a two-time All-American.
With the misty rain seemingly getting to many competitors, Wolf knew she needed to remain focused and calm on the job at hand during the 2006 Championships. As competitors began to fall, and Wolf kept advancing without a miss – she knew something special was brewing.
Then, there were three competitors left. Her initial goal of earning All-America secured, she had a new goal in her sights.
“I looked at Kyle and he mouthed, “You’re in the driver’s seat,” said Wolf. “I knew based on misses; I was in good shape. I had another first attempt make and realized that I had probably won the meet. I was absolutely thrilled and a bit surprised, I was so glad my teammates, coaches, friends and my mom were there to support me throughout the competition and to celebrate with me.”
In her seven All-Ohio Athletic Conference meets, Wolf never finished lower than fourth and was a three-time champion and six-time All-OAC honoree. She is also a three-time All-Ohio champion and a five-time All-Ohio honoree. Wolf still holds WC’s indoor and outdoor records.
Pole-vaulting didn’t become an official OHSAA event until her junior year, but her fearlessness and daring attitude – along with a boost from the high school track coach – pushed her to the sport as an eighth-grader.
“One of the greatest compliments I have received is to hear that I helped paved the way for other girls who wanted to try their hand at the pole vault,” said Wolf.
She resides in Wilmington with her husband, Kyle, and their three children, Miles (6), Lydia (4) and Clay (2).
NICOLE HURLEY, Class of 2002, is the second member of the 2000 Wilmington College women’s soccer team that advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 to grace the annuls of the Wilmington College Hall of Fame. She joins teammate Tammy Venema.
Hurley is tied for third all-time, with Venema, with 48 career goals and is fourth with 119 career points. All three players ahead of her on the career points list are already inducted into the Hall of Fame.
It was during her sophomore season she tied a school record that still stands with 10 points in a game, scoring four goals with two assists. She finished the 1998 season with 18 goals and eight assists en route to being named the Heartland Athletic Conference Player of the Year.
Only two players have scored more goals in a single season than Hurley, and her 18 goals are tied for sixth all-time at WC. The 44 points are ninth all-time for a single season.
“I had a blast playing soccer,” said Hurley. “We had a great team all four years I was at Wilmington. I think my sophomore year was definitely one of the best seasons we had. During preseason we went to Bermuda, and this was the year we beat Kalamazoo 2-1 after losing to them 6-2 in the national tournament the year before.”
While she cited excellent education and soccer programs that drew Hurley to the Clinton County campus, she also enjoyed being part of the Phi Alpha Psi Sweetheart sorority.
“My experience at Wilmington was one I will never forget,” said Hurley. “I had an amazing time playing soccer as well as being a part of my sorority. I made many lifelong friends at WC. Oh, and I learned a lot too.”
An elementary education major, Hurley has been teaching for 16 years and is currently teaching first graders at Cox Elementary in Xenia. She resides in Jamestown with her husband of 15 years, Jimmy, and their three children, Tyler (13), Andrew (11) and Jayde (1).
STEVE MAGOTEAUX, Class of 1975, is the first two-time All-American in Wilmington College football history, earning postseason honors in 1972 and 1973.
However, the thought that he would join the elite ranks of Wilmington Hall of Famers never entered his mind.
“I played sports because I liked them, not for the awards or honors,” said Magoteaux.
Prior to his time at Wilmington, the football program didn’t experience a winning season in 15 seasons. That changed his freshman season as the team finished 6-3, and then came the Bill Ramseyer-era in which WC didn’t have a losing season during Magoteaux’s career.
“It was a special time in my life,” said Magoteaux. “I played football and baseball and went into education, so I could coach and teach.”
Magoteaux only bemoaned one thing about his time with the Quakers.
“My only regret is we only played nine games instead of 10,” he said.
Following his playing career, Magoteaux spent nine seasons, six as the head coach, at West Milton before moving to Piqua. He was named OHSAA Coach of the Year in 1990 after leading the Indians to the state playoffs and an unbeaten season.
As his oldest son graduated from high school, Magoteaux graduated into athletic administration. He retired from Piqua in 2005 after 21 years at the school, eight as a coach and 13 as an administrator.
Magoteaux has been married to his high school sweetheart, Karen, for 45 years. In their union, they had three sons. The Magoteaux’s have 10 grandchildren, ranging from ages one to 17.
ALEX VAN DER SLUIJS, Class of 2007, took a year before he finally followed his intuition to attend Wilmington College. Once he stepped foot on the lush grass of Charlie Gilhart Field, Van der Sluijs made an immediate impact.
“Like many athletes, I thought Division I was the end all be all,” said Van der Sluijs, who started his college career at Wright State University. “My brother was at Wilmington and I had some club teammates at Wilmington, and it was the only place I visited as a high school senior that felt like home.
“I decided to make what I thought was the right decision to begin with,” Van der Sluijs continued about his decision to leave WSU and attend Wilmington. “I wanted meaningful relationships and feel like I was home for four years.”
He was a three-time first team All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection and was named OAC Forward of the Year twice.
Van der Sluijs was a key offensive figure on a team that won Wilmington’s only Ohio Athletic Conference championship in 2004. The forward tallied 10 goals and 10 assists en route to earning his first Forward of the Year award. He finished his career with 29 goals and 20 assists.
After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in communications and sport management, he spent a year playing professionally with the Cincinnati Kings. He went on to be a graduate assistant at Defiance College, and then took over the men’s and women’s soccer programs as the head coach.
He returned to the Dayton area to work in development and coach high school soccer at Chaminade-Julienne High School, and is currently working remotely as a Success Manager for a Silicon Valley start up company.
Van der Sluijs resides in Dayton with his wife of six-plus years, Paige.