WILMINGTON - The Wilmington College athletic department is pleased to announce the Hall of Fame Class of 2014. The quintet will be formally inducted during a brunch Saturday.
The class of five features two National Champions, a two-time football All-American and the quite possibly the best quarterback-receiver tandem in Wilmington history.
JONATHAN CAIN, Class of 2003, set the receiving standard at Wilmington College, finishing his career with 3,955 yards – the most in school history. A three-time all-conference selection, and 2000 All-American, Cain holds every career and single-season receiving record.
You can’t discuss receivers at Wilmington without mentioning Jonathan Cain.
“It's an absolute honor to be mentioned as one of the best receivers to come through Wilmington,” said Cain. “However, I share that distinction with my teammates on offense and defense. Football has always, and will continue to be a team sport. When you have epic battles with Antonio Broadnax, day in and day out, you can't do anything but be the best. At the end of the day, without someone snapping, blocking, throwing, defending and coaching, this conversation wouldn't be taking place!”
And to think, his stellar career almost didn’t happen.
“My mom and coach (Mike) Wallace somehow convinced me to take a visit,” said Cain. “Prior to taking the visit I had already told myself I was done with football. After the visit, I spoke with my mom and she really felt that I should attend Wilmington, so I committed. Wilmington was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Period. Attending Wilmington has molded and shaped me into the man I am today and aided in my success.”
In 2000, Cain finished with 85 catches for 1,459 yards and 15 touchdowns. His 236 career receptions and 40 touchdowns also are tops in school history.
He lives in Dayton with his wife of nine years, Erica, and they have three children, Jalyn, Jonathan Jr., and Janae. He works for Ricoh-USA and runs his own small business.
Due to NCAA rules about earning restrictions, Downing gave up his scholarship at Youngstown State, and transferred to Wilmington with his wife and two children. Not only was he excelling on the football field, but was working at Airborne Express and raising a family.
The Quakers made the national playoffs in 1982 and 1983, the last time WC played in postseason. Downing finished with a school record nine interceptions in 1982, and the team picked off a record 28 passes in both his seasons. Not only was the team stingy in the air, they were stout on the ground. They surrendered just 478 rushing yards in 11 games, the best effort in history.
Despite playing just two seasons, Downing is second all-time in career interceptions. There is one particular pick that stands out.
“In the championship showdown against Findlay, I remember seeing the play develop in front of me exactly as we saw in film study,” said Downing. “I was quick to come up from being deep as a free safety and jumped the tight end just as the ball arrived. I was running toward the ball and grabbed it with two hands above my head, despite the cold 26 degrees that day. I returned it for a large gain and fueled our unstoppable momentum.”
He was also named Academic All-American and NAIA All-American following each of those seasons.
While Downing beliefs going into the Hall is a “privilege”, he is happier that his family and teammates can experience the success.
“I mostly am glad for my wife as she sacrificed a lot in those days to make it possible,” said Downing. “I believe the coaches and teammates are honored every time a player is inducted, so I am satisfied they can gain further legitimacy as being some of the most dedicated players in the WC experience.”
Downing and his wife run their own business for commercial and residential repair solutions. After raising their family in northeast Ohio, they moved to Cary, NC to be closer to their grandchildren.
However, the two-day exploits are only the tip of the iceberg of Herring’s career. She was a 21-time All-OAC, 12-time National Qualifier, eight-time All-Ohio, a five-time All-American and more importantly, a National Champion.
Herring, the 2004 Clyde Lamb winner, holds the schools indoor records in the 400m, 500m, 800m, 4x160 relay, 4x400 relay and the 4x800 relays, and outdoor records in sprint medley, 4x400 and the high jump. School records aren’t the only ones she still lays claim to, holding the indoor and outdoor high jump records at the All-Ohio and OAC meets.
Despite all of the credentials, the Hall of Fame nod was the furthest thing from her mind.
“When I got the phone call, the Hall of Fame was definitely not on my mind,” said Herring. “It was a very welcome surprise. I have so many great memories of competing for Wilmington and of all the people there that I'm glad I get to relive some of that.”
With some many fabulous moments during her Wilmington career, it’s hard to pinpoint one special time.
“I think I would have all of the moments over again,” said Herring. “It's hard to pick just one favorite. Winning Nationals and doing well at the conference meets are definitely something I worked hard for and I'll never forget. But I also think some of my favorite moments are the ones hanging out with the rest of the team. We spent so much time together and I loved that camaraderie.”
Herring lives in Yellow Springs and is a high school English teacher in the Springfield City Schools.
The National Championship season saw Maine score 616 points and grab 365 rebounds, second on WC’s single-season list. She is the only player ranked in the top five in both points and rebounds. Maine is second all-time with 1,830 points and third with 1,017 rebounds.
Maine holds two of the top four scoring records for a season in WC history.
She was also a key member of the 2003 team that many people believe had more talent than the 2004 championship team.
“The 2003 team was a talented team, and we did make it far into the NCAA tournament,” said Maine. “There is a saying that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I think we gained some form of preparation for the next opportunity in 2004. We were lucky that we were in the right place at the right time and our team came together at the right moments in 2004. We had worked hard to prepare for the opportunities in front of us. One thing I learned about basketball during my career is that talent isn't the only factor that drives success. It takes character, effort, determination and skill to get a team to come together.”
Her tenure at Wilmington was one of the greatest spans in school history. The Quakers won 96 games, including a 28-2 season in 2001-02 and a National Championship in 2003-04.
Maine credits head coach Jerry Scheve for the successes of the program.
“He has created an era of great basketball teams and great players,” said Maine. “They start with recruitment and culture and really showcase the great qualities they have built in the women's basketball program. From there, Coach Scheve pushes to get the most out of his players everyday. I think that the standards have been set by Coach Scheve and it shows with the quality athletes that WC has and will continue to have.”
Maine is married to former WC football player, Jared Maine, and they have two kids, Holtz, 8, and Liviann, 5. She is currently working as a Human Resource Assistant for the City of Marysville.
In just 32 career games, he threw for 10,095 yards while completing 56 percent of his passes. He is second all-time with 682 completions and third with 1,223 attempts. His 88 touchdowns are the most in Wilmington history.
So the term “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, could adequately describes Ryan’s WC career.
“I tried to walk on at (the University of Cincinnati) and the coach told me I had zero chance to see the field, so I knew I was behind the eight ball,” said Ryan.
It was his relationship with Nick Nicastro, a WC Hall of Famer, who aided Ryan’s decision to give Wilmington a shot. And the rest, as they say, is history. It didn’t take long for Ryan to take over the quarterback position, starting the third game of the season.
“My favorite memory was that my first college start was actually at my high school stadium, The Pit,” said Ryan, who led Wilmington to a 21-17 victory over Mount St. Joseph in 1998.
With Ryan at the helm, the 1999 team – which now has four Hall-of-Famers – recorded the best record in Wilmington’s NCAA history. The Quakers went 9-1 with its lone setback a 30-15 loss to Hanover.
The loss kept Wilmington out of the playoffs, and Ryan still reflects on it.
“At the time (I thought the loss kept was the lone reason for not making the playoffs), but we played our butts off and thought we were still deserving of a playoff spot,” said Ryan. “That was one of my worst games in my four-year career, but we/I put it behind us and we then ran the table; one of the greatest statistical years ever at WC.”
Ryan, a 2000 All-American, holds the top two single-season passing performances with 3,455 and 3,343 yards in 2000 and 1999, respectively. His 34 touchdown passes in 1999 is still the best single-season performance in Wilmington history.
After spending five years “trying to leave my mark in professional golf,” Ryan started working in the family business, The Miami Corporation, where he is currently in the sales department. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Betsi, and their 18-month old daughter, Rory. The couple is expecting their second child on October 16.