July 25, 2002
Seven former student-athletes, including Butler's first four-time all-conference football player, and the first husband-wife duo will be inducted into the Butler University Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend. The new inductees will be honored at a dinner ceremony in the Reilly Room of Butler's Atherton Center, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 28.
Slated for induction into the Butler Athletic Hall of Fame on Sunday are former student-athletes Ralph London ('56, football), David Sanders ('66, basketball), Ed Schilling ('67, basketball), Dave Swihart ('76, football), John Kesler, II ('76, track and cross country), Wayne Burris ('77, basketball) and Rene Evans Johnson ('84, volleyball, basketball, softball), and Special Service Award recipients Robert and Jean Wildman ('44). The nine new members will constitute the 12th class to be enshrined in Butler's Hall of Fame.
London was a two-way starter at tackle for Butler's football teams from 1952 to 1954, and he helped the Bulldogs to a pair of Indiana Collegiate Conference championships. He earned first team all-league honors for three straight seasons, and he was named team captain for Butler's 1954 squad. The gifted lineman was a mainstay in the offensive unit that paved the way for fullback Leroy Thompson, the first Butler player to rush for over 2,000 career yards.
Sanders earned three varsity letters in basketball from 1963 to 1965. In the 1964-65 season, he became the ninth player in Butler basketball history to score 1,000 career points, and he currently ranks 24th on Butler's all-time scoring list. Sanders was named Butler's team MVP and was picked first team all-conference in his final season with the Bulldogs.
Schilling was the leading scorer on Butler's basketball teams in 1965-66 and 1966-67. He earned all-conference honors in both seasons, and he was named Butler's team captain in his final campaign. As a junior, Schilling averaged 20.7 points and 12.3 rebounds, while setting Butler single season records for both scoring and rebounding. He's the father of current Wright State University men's basketball coach Ed Schilling.
Swihart was the first football player in Butler history to earn first team all-conference honors for four consecutive years. He was an outstanding tight end for the Bulldogs from 1972 to 1975, and he helped lead Butler to four straight conference championships. He was a two-time "Lineman of the Year" in the Indiana Collegiate Conference (1974 & 1975), and he currently stands seventh on Butler's all-time list for pass receptions and receiving yards.
Kesler earned eight varsity letters in track and cross country from 1972 to 1976. He was named cross country team MVP in 1975, and he earned both the Scott Ham Award and the Andy Williams Award in track in 1976. Kesler set Butler school records in the two mile run, the three mile run and the 3,000 meter steeplechase as a senior.
Burris was a four-year basketball letterwinner for the Bulldogs from 1974 to 1977. He was a two-time, first team all-conference pick, and he was named "Player of the Year" in the Indiana Collegiate Conference in 1977. The slick backcourt player was a Butler team captain and two-time MVP, and he currently stands 8th on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,531 career points.
Rene Evans Johnson was a three-sport athlete at Butler from 1980 to 1984. She earned 11 varsity letters in volleyball, basketball and softball. She was a three-time volleyball team MVP and a two-time team captain, and she was named MVP of Butler's softball team as a senior. The talented multi-sport athlete earned all-conference and all-state honors in volleyball.
Bob and Jean Wildman, both Butler graduates, are longtime benefactors of their alma mater and Butler athletics. Their generous support has contributed to the tremendous success of Butler athletics, and they are two of the most loyal fans of all Butler teams. The primary meeting/lounge area in Hinkle Fieldhouse is named in their honor.
The Butler Hall of Fame was created in 1991 to provide a forum in which those who have brought honor and respect to Butler University and its athletic program could be acknowledged and permanently enshrined in Hinkle Fieldhouse. Inductees have each made exceptional contributions to the prestige of the university in the field of athletics, and continued to demonstrate in their lives the values imparted by athletics.