Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame to Welcome 9 New Members in September

June 24, 2013

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Nine former student-athletes, coaches and administrators, who were part of the Purdue University athletic scene during eight different decades, stretching from 1892 to 2008, will be inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame this fall.

The new members, set for induction Sept. 28, are ...

~ Tony Butkovich, football, 1943
~ Alpha Jamison, football, baseball and track and field athlete, football and basketball coach, 1892-1901
~ Matt Light, football, 1996-2000
~ Stacey Lovelace, basketball, 1993-96
~ Willie Merriweather, basketball, 1957-59
~ Carol Mertler, field hockey coach and administrator, 1975-1988
~ Serene Ross, track and field, 1999-2002
~ Joe Tiller, football coach, 1982-85, and 1997-2008
~ Dick Walbaum, administrator, 1984-2001

These Boilermaker greats will join the 126 former Boilermakers who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since 1994, when the selection process was initiated.

The latest honorees will be recognized during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony at 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, in Mackey Arena on the Purdue campus, following the Boilermakers' Homecoming football game against Northern Illinois. Tickets will be available through the John Purdue Club and at the Athletics Ticket Office, 900 John R. Wooden Drive, beginning in August.

Six of the nine inductees are expected to attend. Butovich, Jamison and Walbaum are being honored posthumously and will be represented by family members.

The 2013 class was chosen by a committee of Hall of Fame members, former student-athletes and current university administrators. Biographical sketches on the honorees follow.

Tony Butkovich

Tony Butkovich was a one-year sensation at Purdue as a 1943 letterwinner at running back, earning first team All-America and first team All-Big Ten status as a World War II transfer from the University of Illinois. The Lewistown, Ill., native was a member of Purdue's undefeated Big Ten championship team that year, which was highlighted by his four touchdowns and 17.2 yards per carry against his former team, the Fighting Illini. Butkovich broke a 21-year-old Big Ten scoring record (78 points on 13 touchdowns) in nine games and rushed for 833 yards on 142 attempts, averaging 119 yards per game and 5.9 yards per carry for the season. A member of the U.S. Marine Corps, he was killed in action in Okinawa, Japan, in 1945.

Alpha Jamison

Alpha P. Jamison was one of Purdue's early greats, excelling as both an athlete and coach. As a student-athlete, he was a star halfback and fullback for the football team, which was declared national champions in 1894 with its 9-1 record, running the famed flying wedge offense. Jamison played football for five seasons, the last while a graduate student, with his teams winning 30 of 40 games. He also played baseball and was a record-setting track performer before graduating in 1895. Jamison coached the football team from 1898 to 1900, posting an 11-11-1 record in his three years at the helm. He switched over to basketball and became the second head coach in Boilermaker history in 1900 and 1901. After losing the team's lone game of 1900, Jamison led Purdue to its first undefeated season (12-0) the next year, advancing his record to 12-1 for a .923 winning percentage, which is the second-best all-time in Purdue's coaching annals. From 1895 through 1914, Jamison was an instructor and professor in engineering as well as an author of several textbooks. In 1915, Jamison was popularly acclaimed as Purdue's all-time greatest athlete to that point in history. He remained in the Lafayette area throughout his lifetime, serving as a bank director, school board member and as a trustee for his church. He also was a Big Ten official for football and track and field for many years. Jamison was born in Chauncey (prior to the village being renamed West Lafayette) in 1875, one year after Purdue opened its doors. He died in 1962.

Matt Light

Matt Light was a four-year football letterwinner as a tight end and left tackle from 1996 to 2000. A two-time All-Big Ten selection, he earned second team honors in 1999 and was a first team pick in 2000. The Greenville, Ohio, native was named Gannett News All-American and Football News third team All-American his final season. Light started 37 consecutive games from 1998 to 2000 as the leader of an offensive line that gave up only 15 sacks in 568 pass attempts (one per 37.9 pass attempts) in 1999 and only seven sacks in 528 attempts (one per 75.4 attempts) in 2000. Light was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2001 and was a starter from his rookie year until his retirement in 2012. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2008, helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVII and XXXIX) and created the non-profit Light Foundation that assists youth. In July of 2012, he joined ESPN as an NFL analyst.

Stacey Lovelace

Stacey Lovelace was a four-year starter on the women's basketball team from 1993 to 1996. She holds school records with 13 double-doubles in a season and 27 for her careeer. Lovelace was a member of the 1994 Women's Final Four team before being named honorable mention Associated Press All-American in 1995 and 1996, first team WBCA All-American in 1995, Big Ten Player of the Year in 1995 and first team All-Big Ten in 1995 and 1996. Lovelace was selected as team co-Most Valuable Player in 1995 and earned the award outright a year later after averaging 15.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. On the school's all-time lists, she currently ranks second with 220 blocked shots, third with 876 rebounds, 10th in field goal percentage at .500, 11th with 208 steals and 13th with 1,527 points. Lovelace played in the WNBA from 2000 to 2008 and presently serves as an assistant coach with the league's Tulsa Shock.

Willie Merriweather

Willie Merriweather was a three-year basketball letterwinner from 1957 to 1959. He was an All-American and the the team's Most Valuable Player in 1959, averaging 20.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game before being selected by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1959 NBA Draft. He averaged 14.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game for his career. Merriweather was one of two members of the 1959 Boilermakers to be named to the 1980 Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Silver Anniversary team and was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989. Following his basketball career, Merriweather spent the remainder of his career as an educator in the Detroit public schools. He was honored as a "Teacher of the Year" in Michigan in 1988 and retired as a principal. He now resides in Converse, Texas.

Carol Mertler

Carol Mertler began her career at Purdue in 1975 as an assistant athletics director assigned to supervise the development of the women's varsity athletic program in its vital beginning stages. She also served as field hockey coach for the 1975 season and was promoted to associate athletics director in 1982, working largely to promote awareness and competition in female student-athletics. She helped Purdue stage several Big Ten championship events as well as the 1987 NCAA Volleyball Division I Championship at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis. Mertler left Purdue in 1988 to take a position as director of therapeutic activity services at Richland Hospital in her hometown of Mansfield, Ohio. She then returned to Ashland University, where she had coached volleyball, basketball and softball earlier in her career. During her second stint there, she was a full-time professor and received the Taylor Excellence in University Teaching Award in 2000. She retired in 2001 and returned to Mansfield, where she currently resides. Dr. Mertler graduated from Mansfield Senior High School in 1955 and earned three collegiate degrees, receiving her bachelors from Kent State University in 1959, her masters from the University of Oregon in 1962 and her doctorate from Ohio State University in 1974. She was inducted into the Ashland University Sports Hall of Fame in 1989.

Serene Ross

Serene Ross was a four-year letterwinner in track and field from 1999 to 2002. She won an NCAA Championship in javelin in 2002, while also setting an American record (195-feet, 8-inches). She also was the 2002 USA National champion in the javelin, bettering her own American record by throwing 197-0. Ross finished fifth in the World Cup javelin competition in Madrid, Spain, in 2002. Her collegiate accolades included javelin All-American in 1999, 2001 and 2002; Big Ten javelin champion in 2002; hammer throw All-American in 2000; and hammer throw Big Ten champion in 2000. She was voted team Most Outstanding Performer in 2001 and 2002. Ross currently makes her home in Louisville, Ky.

Joe Tiller

Joe Tiller spent 15 years of his coaching career at Purdue, three as an assistant coach (1982-85) and 12 as head coach (1997-2008). As head coach, he set the school record with 87 victories. In Tiller's final game, the Boilermakers dominated intrastate rival Indiana 62-10 on Nov. 22, 2008, before a sellout-plus crowd of 63,107 fans at Ross-Ade Stadium, to recapture the Old Oaken Bucket. He wound up his career with an 87-62 record, including 53-43 in Big Ten Conference games and a 10-2 mark against the Hoosiers. Tiller's 149 games coached are the most in Purdue football annals. Prior to his hiring, Purdue football had played in a total of five bowl games and had managed a record of 54-107-5 in the preceding 15 years. Tiller introduced Purdue to the spread offense, featuring multiple wide receivers and forcing defenses to cover the field from sideline to sideline. It was a radical change from the smash-mouth Big Ten and, in the basketball-crazed state of Indiana, was dubbed affectionately "basketball on grass." The result was 10 bowl games, including the 2001 Rose Bowl, an average of more than seven wins per season and a Big Ten Championship in 2000. Tiller coached 64 players who went on to the National Football League, six All-Americans and two Academic All-Americans. In 2008, Tiller was awarded the Order of the Griffin, one of Purdue's highest honors, which is given to individuals whose commitment to the University goes well beyond the call of duty, and whose strength and vision have greatly benefitted the institution. Tiller was appointed head coach emeritus by the Board of Trustees on Nov. 21, 2008. Tiller's 18-year head coaching record, including six seasons at the University of Wyoming, was 126-92-1, a .578 winning percentage. Tiller presently makes his home in Buffalo, Wyo.

Dick Walbaum

Dick Walbaum worked in the athletics department at Purdue from 1984 to 2001, as assistant athletics director and director of the John Purdue Club (1984-91), associate athletics director for marketing and development (1991-97) and senior associate athletics director (1997-2001). His last work included a leadership role in identifying and securing resources necessary for the Ross-Ade Stadium renovation. In 2000, he was honored with the Diamond P Award, presented annually by the John Purdue Club to individuals who have shown extraordinary support for Boilermaker athletics. Walbaum spent a total of 35 years at Purdue, serving as assistant intramural director at the Recreational Gymnasium (1964-67) and spending 17 years in the Krannert School of Management as director of undergraduate counseling services (1967-72), assistant dean for undergraduate administration (1972-76) and assistant dean for administration (1976-84) before joining the athletics department. Walbaum received his master's degree from Purdue in 1967 after earning his bachelor's degree from Illinois. The Springfield, Ill., native competed in varsity track and field for the Illini and was president of his fraternity, Alpha Tau Omega. He died in 2009.