Speaking before a standing-room-only gathering in the fitness center, located at the front of the HPER Center, University President Dr. Mark H. Erickson sensed another championship moment for an athletics department with so many to celebrate through the years.
“Home to the winningest football and men’s basketball teams in NCAA Division III history, Wittenberg’s broad-based intercollegiate athletics program with 23 varsity teams and numerous club and intramural opportunities attract hundreds of students each year to our idyllic campus, and our facilities play a vital in ensuring that they call Wittenberg their college home,” Erickson said.
“Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends, Wittenberg now boasts state-of-the-art equipment in its newly renovated Heinzen Strength Center, a Recotan track surface on its Earl F. Morris Track, a new artificial grass turf on Edwards-Maurer Field, and the centerpiece of all our improvements, this amazing facility (the Bob Rosencrans Fitness Center at the Athletics Hall of Honor).”
The Rosencrans family, including Bob’s wife, Sharon, their daughters, Julie Rastatter, Beth Delaney and Amy Dean, and their eight grandchildren, participated in the event, while dozens of individuals from the Wittenberg community who knew him well from his days as a student-athlete, coach and director of athletics enjoyed the moment with them. According to Dean, who spoke on behalf of the family, it was fitting that so many friends and former colleagues were in attendance Friday.
Dean spoke of her father’s passion for Wittenberg, first as a student-athlete in the 1950s and later as a head coach in swimming and diving, wrestling and golf, an assistant coach in football and the university’s director of athletics from 1982-92. It was fitting, she noted, that this event was held during Homecoming and Reunion Weekend, recounting that her father’s first love was the game of football, and the family holds cherished memories of many crisp fall weekends that included Tiger victories on the gridiron.
The centerpiece of a $2 million athletics facilities improvement project in 2005, the Bob Rosencrans Fitness Center at the Athletics Hall of Honor added 4,622 square feet of space to the front of the existing HPER Center. It includes state-of-the-art fitness equipment available for use by anyone in the Wittenberg community.
It is fitting that this athletics facilities improvement project encompassed such a wide variety of upgrades, according to Garnett Purnell, Wittenberg’s director of athletics and recreation.
“It is a privilege to walk in the footsteps of Bob Rosencrans and to oversee Wittenberg’s athletics program,” Purnell said. “Our program makes me proud not only because of our tremendous success, but also because of our commitment to developing the whole person in all our students and our student-athletes alike.
“At Wittenberg, we ensure that our students leave here prepared to tackle any and all challenges that await them, and our athletics program is no exception.”
Speaking on behalf of the current Wittenberg students, Student Senate President Jonathan Scruggs said that the athletics facilities improvements have already made a difference in daily student life, despite the fact they were only completed in August 2005.
“As students, we often do not have the chance to meet those who make our Wittenberg experience so meaningful through their consistent financial support, so it is an honor to meet so many of you today and to learn about the facility’s namesake,” Scruggs said. “Bob Rosencrans enhanced so many lives at Wittenberg and beyond, and I, along with my fellow students, hope we can do the same now and when we leave these hallowed halls.”
Written By: Ryan Maurer
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