BLUFFTON ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME ADDS THREE
They come from different eras and different sports, but together, Erin (Kurtz) Baker, Mark Froning and Jesse Williams comprise the Bluffton University Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2011-12.
Baker, who graduated in 2000, Froning ’68 and Williams ’89 will be inducted during a Feb. 4 dinner and ceremony in Marbeck Center.
Baker remains in the top five in 11 pitching statistics for a Bluffton softball career. Her rankings include second in opponents’ batting average (.216) and shutouts (tied, with nine); third in wins (38), strikeouts (365) and complete games (finishing all 64 games she started); and fourth in earned run average (2.47). Also second on the fielding percentage list (.991) and a .286 hitter during her four years, Baker was named first-team all-Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference in both 1999 and 2000; Most Valuable Player of the 1999 HCAC tournament, won by Bluffton; and conference MVP during the Beavers’ second-place season in 2000.
After receiving her Bluffton bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education, the Wooster native was an intervention specialist at Marshallville, Ohio, Elementary School for three years. From 2002-07, she was head softball coach at her alma mater, Smithville High School, where she is now an intervention specialist. She earned a master’s degree in special education from the University of Akron in 2009. Baker and her husband, Michael, live in Orrville with their three children.
Froning was a member of Mid-Ohio Conference (MOC) championship teams in both basketball and baseball and an all-conference selection in both sports. He is already in the Bluffton Hall of Fame as part of the previously inducted 1965-66 basketball and 1967 baseball teams. Eighth on the career basketball scoring list with 1,414 points, he averaged 17.2 points per game and scored at least 20 points in 39 of his 82 games. He is still first in career free throws made, with 424, and second in attempts (550). As a junior in 1966-67, Froning was named second-team NAIA District 22 as well as first-team all-MOC.
Graduating from Bluffton with a psychology degree, Froning became a teacher and coach in Fremont, Ohio. In 1973, he added a master’s degree in school psychology from Bowling Green State University and embarked on a 30-year career in Findlay City Schools, first as a school psychologist and then, from 1979-2003, as director of student services. He retired in 2003 and has since been a psychologist at St. Michael School in Findlay. He and his wife, Diana, now divide their time between Findlay and Mount Pleasant, S.C. They have four children and four granddaughters.
On the football field, Williams intercepted a Bluffton career-record 18 passes from 1985-88. Seven of those came in 1987—when the Beavers went to the NAIA national playoffs for the first of two consecutive years—and represent the third-most interceptions in a single season at Bluffton. A four-year letter winner, Williams was twice named to the NAIA District 22 first team and was a member of three Bluffton teams—the 1985, 1987 and 1988 Beavers—that have been inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame.
A graduate of Akron East High School, Williams earned his Bluffton degree in recreation management and went on to a career with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Currently director of the north region of the department’s Office of Prisons, he previously served as warden at Allen Correctional Institution and Oakwood Correctional Facility, both in Lima; deputy warden at Mansfield Correctional Institution; and in several positions at Lorain Correctional Institution. He is also pastor of Fresh Word Temple in Lima, where he lives with his wife, Lisa, and their three children.
Visit the web for banquet ticket reservations.
Bluffton public relations, 12/16/11