Bill Ramseyer, former Wilmington College Director of Athletics, Head Football Coach and Professor of Physical Education passed away this week in his hometown of Bluffton. He was 84.
Ramseyer served as Wilmington's head football coach from 1972 to 1990 as well as holding the position of director of athletics and professor of physical education and recreation. During his time as head football coach, Ramseyer guided the Fightin' Quakers to 114 victories, 58 losses and four ties for a winning percentage of nearly 66 percent. To date, he is the longest serving (by years coached) and most successful (by number of wins and percentage) football coach in the College's 150-year history.
Dr. Terry Rupert, vice president for athletic administration and director of athletics, knew Ramseyer for 25 years. He described him as "a pivotal figure" in the College's more than century-long scope of intercollegiate athletics.
"Bill's teams enjoyed great success and his 1980 campaign was the first to place Wilmington College in the national spotlight," he said. "Beyond his excellence as a coach, teacher and athletics administrator, Bill was very fine man. This was evidenced by his determination to return to WC for Homecoming each year to see his former players — even in the face of his declining health — and through the devotion and love for him exhibited by his former players. Wilmington College and generations of its athletics family join Bill's wife, Mary, and their family in mourning the loss of this giant of a man."
Three of Ramseyer's teams won Hoosier-Buckeye Conference championships and qualified for the NAIA playoffs. His 1980 squad, the first Quaker team to qualify, won the opening round 56-49 in four overtimes against Hanover College at Townsend Field. From there, WC traveled to and knocked off William Jewel (Missouri) 31-17 before falling to Pacific Lutheran University 38-10 in the national championship game played in Tacoma, Washington.
In total, a Quaker earned All-American honors 63 times under Ramseyer's guidance.
After Wilmington, Ramseyer went on to start the football program at Clinch Valley College, which is now known as Virginia-Wise University, in 1991. It took Ramseyer just five years to make the NAIA playoffs, a feat he achieved in both 1995 (10-2) and 1996 (10-1).
Ramseyer, who would return to campus often for the College's Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony each fall, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999.