Defiance College Alumni Varsity D will present its annual Coach of the Year and Honorary Letterman awards during events on Jan. 24 and Feb. 7.
Defiance College is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate majors as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of engagement. U. S. News & World Report ranks Defiance in the top tier of comprehensive colleges in the Midwest. The college website is www.defiance.edu.
Craig Rutter will be recognized as Honorary Letterman for 2009, and Rich Thiel, Tinora High School girls basketball coach, and Vernon Kiehl, Perrysburg High School cross country and track and field coach, will receive Coach of the Year honors.
Rutter and Thiel will be recognized during halftime of the 1 p.m. Yellow Jackets women’s basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 24. Kiehl will be honored at halftime of the men’s basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 7.
Thiel’s team at Tinora set a school record for most wins in a season with a 22-3 record during 2007-08. The team advanced to the regional semi-finals. Thiel was recognized as Crescent-News Coach of the Year, District VII Coach of the Year, and AP Northwest District Coach of the Year. In 2006-07, the team earned a 16-6 overall record and won its sectional championship.
Thiel graduated from DC in 2000 where he was a standout on the football team, earning individual honors in multiple seasons. He was a member of the baseball team his junior and senior years.
Thiel and his wife, Andrea, have two daughters, Madeline and Makena, and reside in Edgerton.
Kiehl, a 1980 graduate of DC, has coached track and field and cross country at Perrysburg High School where his teams and athletes have received numerous honors. During his tenure, his track and field teams have earned a dual meet record of 283-81-2 in 23 years as well as an overall meet record of 2103-1470-2. He has coached eight Northern Lakes League team champions and has been named NLL Coach of the Year eight times. During eight years as head cross country coach, his dual meet record has been 67-51, and overall record is 940-739.
At DC, Kiehl lettered four years in track and three years in football. He and his wife, Kathy, reside in Perrysburg.
The Honorary Letterman Award recognizes individuals for their continued commitment and unselfish service to Defiance College athletics. Alumni Varsity D represents 1,200 student athletes who earned varsity letters at Defiance College.
Rutter became the head baseball coach at Defiance College in 1983 and served in that capacity through the 2001 season. During that time, his teams amassed 286 wins, placing him atop the list for coaching victories in baseball at DC. Rutter was named the Hoosier-Buckeye Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in 1985 and the Association of Mideast Colleges Coach of the Year in 1995 after winning the AMC conference title.
In the spring of 2002, Defiance College paid tribute to his efforts as head baseball coach by renaming Alumni Field, Craig A. Rutter Field.
From 2001-06, Rutter served the College as director of service learning, providing opportunities for students, faculty, staff, alums, and community partners to participate in service experiences locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Rutter led three trips to Biloxi, Miss., before and after Hurricane Katrina, to aid the people in that area. He has taken service teams to the Oglala Lakota Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, S.D., the second poorest county in the United States; to inner-city Detroit to assist the Good News Gang Metro and Detroit World Outreach with service projects in the local neighborhoods; and he has directed 18 trips to Jamaica, serving the people of that country through the building of homes, teaching in the schools, and witnessing to the children in three orphanages.
Rutter is currently assistant athletic director for student-athlete engagement, experiential learning coordinator, head women’s golf coach, and an associate professor of sport science. He has been the “voice of the Yellow Jackets” for several years, serving as announcer at DC football and basketball games. He and his wife, Gayle, have three daughters and five granddaughters and are expecting their sixth grandchild in mid-July.
Receptions for Thiel, Rutter and Kiehl will be hosted by the AVD in the McMaster Gymnasium of the Weaner Community Center following presentation of their awards.
January 15, 2009