2012 Hall of Fame Class inducted

October 23, 2012

Newly inducted Hall of Fame members, Nick Nicastro, Doug Wolf, Heather Utter, Antonio Broadnax and Dr. John Turba.

Newly inducted Hall of Fame members, Nick Nicastro, Doug Wolf, Heather Utter, Antonio Broadnax and Dr. John Turba.

Followers of modern day Wilmington College athletics should be familiar with each member of the 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame class, as they played a key role in the program’s success at the turn of the century.

Inducted during WC’s Homecoming activities Saturday (Oct. 20) were football alumni Antonio Broadnax and Nick Nicastro, Heather Meranda Utter from the women’s basketball team, track and field performer Doug Wolf and the College’s former sports medicine physician for 30 years, Dr. John Turba.

“This is the first class of the Hall of Fame in which I’ve seen everyone perform — they’re great people,” said Terry Rupert, vice president for athletics administration since 1996.

President Jim Reynolds congratulated the group for the “richly deserved honor.”

“We remember all the good things you did on the field, court and track, and how you made an impact in so many other ways on campus.”

Antonio Broadnax, class of 2002, was a mainstay of the football team’s most successful four-year stretch during the program’s NCAA era. The safety and kick return specialist earned All-American honors in 2000 and 2001.

His name is all over Wilmington College’s record book as he finished his career with more than 200 tackles and 14 interceptions. In addition to being among the top five leaders for career interceptions, Broadnax holds the Quakers’ career and season records for punt return average and is among the top five for punt returns and punt return average in a career.

In introducing him at the awards brunch, teammates Ryan Alspaugh called him a “phenomenal athlete” and Rich Scales said teammates looked to him for leadership.

“I looked up to him as a leader, a friend and big brother,” Scales said.

Broadnax said he had “great people” behind him at WC, not only in football but throughout his College experience.

“The first day I came to campus, Wilmington College felt like home to me,” he said. “I played because I loved the game — I was just a kid having fun.”

Broadnax and his wife reside in Cincinnati with their two children. He works in the admission area at Miami-Jacobs University.

Heather Meranda Utter ’01, applied the hard work ethic she learned while growing up on her family’s dairy farm in Georgetown to her academic and basketball pursuits.

The Lady Quakers enjoyed 20-win seasons each of her first three years that included back-to-back Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championships and a trip to the NCAA Tournament in winter of 2000.

She earned All-American status and was named Heartland Conference co-Most Valuable Player as a junior. Also that season, she was Columbus Multimedia Great Lakes Region Player-of-the-Year and was named to the Team of the Year.

Meranda Utter’s name is prevalent in the Lady Quakers’ record book.

She is fourth all-time with 1,566 career points, eighth in career assists with 260 and first in career steals with an incredible 306 — that’s 123 more steals than the second place leader. She also holds the top three season marks for steals and is among the top 10 in season records for three-point shots made and attempted.

Her coach, Jerry Scheve, called her the “most complete” basketball player he ever coached.

Meranda Utter said, “It was the players and coaches that made me the player I was at WC. If I could go back and do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”

Utter is an organizational director for the Ohio Farm Bureau. She resides in Georgetown with her husband, and their three children.

Nick Nicastro ’02, a teammate of Broadnax, also was a team anchor while playing defensive end.

While he broke into the defensive rotation as a freshman, Nicastro sustained a season-ending injury his second year. Determined to come back stronger than ever in 1999, he led the team with 71 tackles and 10 sacks en route to earning All-Heartland Conference, All-Great Lakes Region and All-American honors. Nicastro went on to break the program’s single-season sack record with 13.

He graduated as the school’s all-time leader in sacks and currently ranks third in career sacks with 28 and fourth all-time with 48 tackles-for-loss.

His coach, Mike Wallace, presented Nicastro by describing him as “a quiet leader” and unrelenting player. “People couldn’t run at him — he’d tackle them. They couldn’t run away from him — he chase them down.”

Nicastro said he was fortunate to play with so many good players and under such good coaches. “The best thing about Wilmington was the friendships I made.”

He resides in San Jose, Calif., where he works for Legends, a company contracted by the San Francisco 49ers to sell personal seat licenses and suites for the team’s new stadium under construction in Santa Clara. He previously held similar positions with the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Yankees and New York Jets.

Dr. John Turba provided outstanding medical care to Wilmington College’s student-athletes for 30 years and he played a key role in the creation and eventual maturity of WC’s outstanding athletic training program.

In 1977, he became the Quakers’ team physician. That marked the beginning of a three-decade relationship during which he addressed medical issues for athletics as the owner and director of the College’s medical partner, Queen City Sports Medicine.

Turba is a founder of WC’s athletic training program, which is recognized today as one of the best in the nation. He was instrumental in developing the program’s curriculum and was a frequent guest speaker in classes. He continues to support its progress.

Former WC football coach Bill Ramseyer presented Turba, whom he called “a giant of the orthopedics world.”

Turba cited highlights of his affiliation with Wilmington as including the 1980 football season when the team was NAIA runner-up, the women’s basketball team’s 2004 national championship and the great success of WC’s athletic training program.

“This honor is truly one of the highlights of my life,” he said.

The father of two sons, Turba his wife, Diane, reside in Mississippi, where he serves as orthopedic surgeon for Alcorn State University.

As one of Ron Combs’ first track and field recruits, Doug Wolf ’02 represented a key building block in what the head coach was trying to produce, a quality team with individuals capable of All-American performances. That goal was quickly achieved.

Wolf was a leader on the Quaker men’s teams that won both the OAC indoor and outdoor championships in WC’s inaugural season in the conference in 2001. In fact, that team also won the OAC Relays and All-Ohio team championships, while boasting an incredible 84-and-1 record. WC placed 22nd at the National Indoor Meet.

Wolf earned All-American status three times as a member of the 4x400 relay team. He is a seven-time NCAA National Qualifier, three-time Heartland Conference champion, eight-time OAC champion and three-time All-Ohio champion. Also, he was selected six times to the All-Heartland Conference Team and 16 times received All-OAC honors.

He was the Clyde Lamb Award winner his senior year and was the Doug Frail Award winner as the OAC’s indoor track MVP in both 2001 and 2002.

Upon graduation, Wolf held nine individual and relay team records at WC, eight of which remain today as the program’s best all-time performances.

Combs said getting Wolf to come to WC was, in recruiting terms, “knocking the ball out of the park. I knew Doug would be an important building block to our program.”

Wolf said, “I want to keep my memories of Wilmington College forever.”

He is program manager for the Obesity Prevention Initiative at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. He and his wife reside in Bexley with their 22-month-old son.