While her team had just finished sixth in the eight-team tournament, there was plenty of cause for celebration. The fledgling program, introduced at the varsity level just four years earlier, had set records for best individual round (81 by Jennifer Petro, class of 2009 from Louisville, Ky.), best team round (372 on Saturday) and best two-day total (749). Four of the six Wittenberg players recorded a personal best score during the tournament, and for the first time ever, five Tigers broke the 100-stroke plateau on the same day.
It all combined to send Clouse out on a high note – not that she needed such a performance to secure her place in the Wittenberg history books. After playing a variety of sports during her undergraduate days at Wittenberg, Clouse was the first coach in the history of three different varsity programs – women's swimming and diving (started in 1970), women's lacrosse (1972) and women's golf (2003) – and she taught thousands of students in a wide range of classes as a professor of health, fitness and sport.
It was fitting, then, that Clouse was soaked in an imitation of the Gatorade baths made famous by professional football teams. Her impact on her alma mater is unquestionably on a championship level.
"It was so exciting because the team had just put together its best tournament ever," said Clouse, who is a certified health education specialist. "Then to get that shower – it was a complete surprise to me.
"I really haven't spent much time reflecting on everything, though. Even when the Wilmington coach gave me a nice plaque and everyone called for a speech, I really didn't know what to say. I hadn't really thought about what comes next."
That could be a result of Clouse's intention to remain involved with the university as she plans to continue serving on the Wittenberg University Athletics Hall of Honor committee and working the HPER Center scorer's table during basketball season. Clouse, who lives with her husband Dick in nearby South Vienna, said the biggest change for her will be the opportunity to play more rounds of golf in the spring and fall, at times when she used to be teaching and/or coaching.
A native of Aurora, Ohio, Clouse chose Wittenberg in large part because of Betty Dillahunt, class of 1946, who had a reputation for offering women's athletics at Wittenberg. After studying and playing numerous sports under Dillahunt's tutelage, Clouse followed in her mentor's footsteps for three years at Tecumseh High School in nearby New Carlisle, Ohio, where she taught classes and coached seven different sports.
Clouse was hired by Wittenberg four years after graduation to teach physical education classes and serve as adviser of the Spray Misses, a synchronized swimming club on campus. When interest in that club waned, students expressed an interest in forming a competitive swimming and diving team, which has evolved into the successful varsity program of today.
In 23 years as head coach, Clouse never had a losing dual meet record and four individuals earned All-America awards, including Brenda (Shaw) DeWitt, class of 1989 and a six-time All-American who still holds three school records. Today, the program is one of the best in the North Coast Athletic Conference.
In 1972, Clouse was asked to start a women's lacrosse team – even though she didn't know much about the sport. After a crash course in the sport, Clouse coached the program for the first 14 years of its existence.
Then came the opportunity to take on women's golf in 2003 after serving as adviser to a club team for two years prior to that. The program has made some small strides in the last four years, and the future looks bright for the players involved in it.
"My career has taken me in many different directions, so it's kind of hard to reflect on just one part of it," said Clouse, who became the first female inductee into the Aurora High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992. "My whole career at Wittenberg has been to do what needs to be done. The jobs I have taken on have always reflected student interests and university needs.
"I've always liked the atmosphere here at Wittenberg. I especially like working with the student-athletes."
Written By: Ryan Maurer
Photo By: Robbie Gantt
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