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Ohio Wesleyan Football History

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Ohio Wesleyan students organize their first football team. The faculty objects, and football is discontinued as an intercollegiate sport for 15 years.

After a winter of preparation, the Ohio Wesleyan football team plays its first intercollegiate contest. Ohio State tops Ohio Wesleyan, 20-14, on Saturday, May 3. The team played 3 games that fall, losing all 3.

Ohio Wesleyan records an undefeated season, shutting out Denison and Miami en route to a 4-0 finish.

[ Fielding Yost ]1897
Fielding H. Yost coaches Ohio Wesleyan to a 7-1-1 mark and a state championship. The Red and Black shut out 6 opponents, including Ohio State and Michigan. The scoreless tie with the Wolverines ends up leading Yost to the Michigan head coaching job.

Ohio Wesleyan joins Case Tech, Kenyon, Oberlin, Ohio State and Western Reserve University in forming the Ohio Athletic Conference.

Branch Rickey, who returns to his alma mater as head coach and athletic director, and halfback James Rike, who rushed for 1016 yards in 1906, lead Methodists to 7-3 record.

[ Lynn St. John ]1909
Another Hall of Famer, Lynn St. John, becomes the head coach. Under St. John, Ohio Wesleyan surrenders a total of only 56 points during the 1910-11 seasons but records back-to-back 6-3 finishes.

George Gauthier, the "Little Giant," takes over as head coach.

Ohio Wesleyan provides the opposition for the first game in Ohio Stadium. Ohio State wins, 5-0. Ohio Wesleyan wins the OAC title with a 7-0 league mark. The Red and Black finish 8-1 overall.

Ohio Wesleyan finishes 6-2, with losses to Ohio State and Colgate, and is undefeated in the OAC.

[ George Gauthier ]1925
Officially christened "The Battling Bishops," Gauthier's squad has only a loss to Ohio State and a tie with Syracuse to blemish a 7-1-1 season. The Bishops win both OAC and "Big Six" championships, the latter a subdivision of the OAC (also including Cincinnati, Denison, Miami, Ohio University and Wittenberg) that sought to play primarily among themselves as the OAC boasted nearly 20 members at that time.

The Big Six breaks away from the OAC to form the Buckeye Conference. Ohio Wesleyan rebounds from early-season losses to Ohio State and Wooster to claim the Buckeye championship.

Ohio Wesleyan records one of its most widely-heralded victories, beating Michigan, 17-7 in Ann Arbor. It would be the last meeting between the schools. The Bishops win their second Buckeye crown in 3 years.

[ Selby Field ]1929
Selby Field, designed by Gauthier, opens in style as the Bishops top Marietta, 52-0, before a crowd of 9000.

Quarterback John Turley, a Delaware native, is a first-team Little All-America selection by Associated Press and becomes the Bishops' first football All-American. Turley goes on to play for 2 seasons with the Chicago Bears of the fledgling National Football League.

[ Dick Drake ]
Dick Drake, a tackle on the Bishop football team, is drafted by the New York Giants of the National Football League. He is the first Ohio Wesleyan player to be selected in the draft, which was instituted in 1936.

Gauthier steps down as Ohio Wesleyan coach with a career record of 121-98-15 and an unsurpassed 5 league championships.

Independent since the demise of the Buckeye Conference nearly a decade earlier, Ohio Wesleyan is readmitted into the OAC. Glenn Fraser takes over as head coach, starting a string of 8 straight winning seasons.

After 3 near-misses, the Bishops win Fraser's first OAC title. End Dale Bruce set an NCAA small-college record by piling up 255 receiving yards vs. Case.

Ohio Wesleyan finishes 8-0-1, its first undefeated season during the modern era, and wins its second OAC crown in 3 years. A tie with Wabash prevented a perfect season. The league crown would be the Bishops' last under Fraser despite 3 more seasons with 2 or fewer losses.

[ Jack Fouts ]1964
Jack Fouts '48 takes over as head coach.

The Bishops' second undefeated season of the century results in Fouts' first OAC title. Ohio Wesleyan finishes 8-0-1. The only blemish on the season was a 14-14 tie at Albion in the opener, a game that saw the Bishops erase a 14-0 deficit but miss potential game-winning field goal attempts on their last 2 possessions.

Halfback Rich Henley leads the OAC in rushing with 1036 yards, becoming only the second Bishop to crack the 1000-yard plateau.

Defensive tackle Tom Truesdell is drafted in the 12th round by the NFL's Cincinnati Bengals. Truesdell is cut during the Bengals' training camp but gets a tryout with the Cleveland Browns in 1971.

Ohio Wesleyan wins the OAC crown and is invited to the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, then the Western Regional title game. Samford (Alabama) won the game, 20-10, but forfeited the victory after it was discovered ineligible players were used.

Down 42-0 at halftime at Denison, Fouts unleashes quarterback Mike Wallace, who goes on to set 8 NCAA All-Divisions passing and total offense records. Wide receiver Ric Kinnan, who missed the first quarter while taking the LSAT, still manages to haul in 12 passes. Denison holds on to win, 49-34.

Ohio Wesleyan leaves the OAC to join Allegheny, Case Reserve, Denison, Kenyon, Oberlin and Wooster in founding the North Coast Athletic Conference.

[ Mike Hollway ]1987
Mike Hollway becomes the Ohio Wesleyan head coach.

Ohio Wesleyan posts a 6-4 record, the Bishops' best finish since the Stagg Bowl season of 1971. Fullback Kevin Sims leads the NCAC in rushing with 1010 yards, becoming the third Bishop to pass the 1000-yard mark.

The Bishops win their first NCAC title. Ohio Wesleyan finishes with an 8-1-1 mark, tying the school record for regular season victories, and is ranked among the top 20 in NCAA Division III for the first time.

The Bishops' 9-1 mark sets a school record for regular-season wins. Ohio Wesleyan leads the nation in rushing defense and is ranked among the top 20 in the Division III polls for the second straight year. The Bishops' only loss was a last-minute, 14-10, decision to conference rival and eventual national champion Allegheny.

[ Keith Rucker ]1991
Despite a fine 8-2 record, the Bishops finish third in the rugged NCAC. Ohio Wesleyan's defense is again among the nation's elite, ranking third in Division III against the rush. Nose guard Keith Rucker, who spearheaded the Bishop defense, becomes the first Division III player invited to compete in the Hula Bowl all-star game and goes on to win a starting berth with the NFL's Phoenix Cardinals.

Ohio Wesleyan opens the season with 8 straight wins, matching the longest season-opening streak in school history, but finishes 8-2 after a last-second loss to Allegheny and a tough NCAC title showdown at Wittenberg. The Bishops set a school record by scoring 315 points.

The Bishop offense gels in midseason and the team finishes 2 touchdowns away from an 8-1-1 record and an NCAC co-title.

Fullback J.R. Kidd finishes with 1000 yards, becoming the fourth Bishop player to reach that figure. Kidd was one of 3 Bishops who received GTE Academic All-America® laurels that season, joining linebacker Craig Anderson -- a 3-time first-team selection -- and defensive end Josh Sanders.

[ Ike Reid ]1999
End Ike Reid and safety Mike Fowler anchor a Bishop defense that leads the NCAC in total and scoring defense and finishes a close second in rushing defense. The Bishops finish 8-2, tying for second place in the conference standings. Reid signed a free-agent contract with the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.

Ohio Wesleyan's high-powered offense ranks second in the nation in rushing (3301 yards), fourth in the nation in total offense (5107 yards) and ninth in the nation in scoring (418 points) while setting school records by the bushel. Tailback Matt Capone leads the NCAC in rushing, all-purpose yardage and kick returns. Ohio Wesleyan finishes the season with a 9-1 record, tying for second place in the conference standings. Capone, center Jeff Hollway, guard Joe Kyte and cornerback Jason Martin each receive All-America honors.

After an 0-4 start that includes 3 losses by a total of 7 points, Ohio Wesleyan reels off 5 straight wins to put itself in position to play for the NCAC championship and an NCAA Division III playoff bid. The 5-game winning streak includes fourth-quarter, come-from-behind decisions over defending conference champion Allegheny and traditional rival Wittenberg.

[ Cisco Clervoix ]2005
End Cisco Clervoix is named NCAC Defensive Player of the Year, the first time since 1991 that an Ohio Wesleyan player received that honor. The Bishops finish at 7-3, with 2 of those losses coming to teams which posted 10-0 regular-season records and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs.

The Bishops defeat Denison, 35-10, in Granville. The win was the 122nd at Ohio Wesleyan for head coach Mike Hollway, the most by any Ohio Wesleyan football coach. Hollway had been tied with Hall of Famer George Gauthier, who coached football at Ohio Wesleyan from 1921-46.

Mason Espinosa takes over the starting quarterback spot in midseason and rolls up more than 1500 passing yards during the final 5 games on the way to becoming the Ohio Wesleyan player to throw for 2000 yards in a season.

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season overview | schedule/results | roster | stats | coach | 
facilities | history | recruitment questionnaire | 2011 guide (pdf document)