With Denison University’s annual Big Red Weekend just days away, the Varsity D Association has officially announced its 38th class of inductees to the college’s Athletic Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees are Frank Ambrosie ’58, Brendan Herlihy ’98, Derek Johnson ’01, Kelly Lotts ’99, Robert Martin ’69, Jill Westerfeld ’01 and E. John “Jack” Tamblyn ‘39.
Frank Ambrosie ’58 (Football)
Frank Ambrosie was a four-year letter winner and member of the Big Red football team from 1954 through 1957. During that span, his teams won 74 percent of their games while posting a record of 25-8-3. Ambrosie was a two-year starter on the offensive line and was widely regarded by Hall of Fame head Coach Keith Piper, who coached at Denison for 42 years, as one of the best lineman ever to wear a Big Red uniform. As a senior in 1957 Ambrosie and the Denison football team enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in school history after going 8-1 and winning the highly competitive Ohio Athletic Conference for the first time since Woody Hayes’ undefeated team in 1947. That year, Ambrosie was an All-Ohio Athletic Conference selection and was named the team’s most outstanding offensive lineman.
A member of Beta Theta Pi, Ambrosie graduated in 1958 with a bachelor of arts in education. He earned his master of arts from Duquesne in 1965 and his doctorate from the University of New York at Buffalo in 1968. Ambrosie has spent 53 years in the field of education and has served on numerous New York State education committees since 1973. In 1995, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the graduate school of education at the University of New York at Buffalo.
Frank and his wife, Susan, live in Skaneateles, N.Y. They have three children: Denise, Jeffrey and Allison, and two grandchildren: Amyah and Frank.
Brendan Herlihy ’98 (Swimming)
Brendan Herlihy was a two-time national champion and 22-time All-American for the Big Red swimming and diving team between 1994 and 1998. In 1996, Herlihy captured NCAA Division III national championships in the 500-yard freestyle and as a member of the 800-yard freestyle relay team. Through his four years as a qualifier for the national championship meet, Herlihy and the Big Red never finished lower than third, nationally. In 1996, Denison’s men’s swimming and diving team was the national runner-up for the second time in school history.
In addition to his 22 Division III All-American certificates in his four trips to nationals, Herlihy was a three-time North Coast Athletic Conference champion, winning the 200-yard freestyle twice, and the 800-yard freestyle relay once. He also was a member of Denison’s very first NCAC Championship squad in 1997. A four-year letter winner and four-time All-NCAC selection, Herlihy served as team captain in 1998 and was named the team’s Most Valuable Swimmer as a sophomore in 1996.
Herlihy and his wife, Karen, live in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. They have two sons: Eamon, 2, and Kellen, one month. Brendan works for Prudential Retirement as a business analyst.
Derek Johnson ’01 (Baseball)
Derek Johnson was a first-team All-American selection and a four-year letter winner for the Denison baseball team from 1998 through 2001. As a senior in 2001, he was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association’s All-American squad as a utility player in recognition of his achievements as both a pitcher and first baseman. He posted a school-record .492 batting average in 2001, while setting school records in innings pitched (88.0) and starts (13). He was the first-ever Denison baseball player to be named the North Coast Athletic Conference’s Player of the Year. A four-time All-Conference honoree, Johnson also was named to the NCAC’s 20th Year Anniversary team in 2004.
He was named the team’s most valuable player three times, and in 2001, he was a first-team All-Mideast Region choice, as well as a regional Gold Glove Award winner. In DU’s all-time career record books, Johnson ranks sixth in hits (173), third in doubles (42), fourth in batting average (.384) and eighth in RBIs (111). As a pitcher, Johnson held the school record for single-season strikeouts with 86, set in 2001. He threw 14 career complete games and ranks ninth all-time in strikeouts at Denison with 135.
Derek and his wife, Kim, live in Whittier, Calif., with their daughter, Jayden. He is vice president and a financial advisor for The Johnson Group.
Kelly C. Lotts ’99 (Swimming)
Kelly Lotts was a three-time national champion and 27-time All-American for the Denison swimming and diving team between 1995 and 1999. Lotts won a pair of national championships as a member of the 400-yard medley relay team in 1998 and 1999. As a senior, she earned her third national title as a member of the 200-yard freestyle relay. The title in 1998 marked the first-ever relay national championship won by a Denison women’s swimming team. Since that milestone victory that was anchored by Lotts, Denison’s women have gone on to win a total of 18 national relay championships through last season.
Lotts’ 27 All-American titles put her just one shy of the maximum number that can be earned by a collegiate swimmer. They also rank her second on Denison’s career All-American performance list. In 1999, while anchoring the 200-yard freestyle relay at the NCAA Division III Championship, Lotts led DU in setting a new national record for the event.
At the conference level, Lotts captured nine NCAC Championships highlighted by individual conference titles in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1995 and 1996. She earned All-NCAC accolades in all four years and became Denison’s 25th NCAA Postgraduate Scholar in 1999.
Lotts earned her bachelor of science in biology, summa cum laude, and matriculated to Ohio State where she earned her master of science in evolution, ecology, and organismal biology in 2003. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, Kelly and her husband, Seth Feinberg, live in Bellingham, Wash., with their son, Marley. Lotts is employed by Montana State University as an ecologist, and she continued to swim at the masters’ level after leaving Denison. In 2006, at the FINA World Masters Championships, she recorded four top-20 finishes.
Robert M. Martin ’69 (Lacrosse)
Bob Martin was a two-time All-American and four-year letter winner for the Denison men’s lacrosse team between 1966 and 1968. One of the top goalies in history of the program, Martin remains the Denison record-holder in career saves percentage (.757) and single-season saves percentage.
As a sophomore in 1967 he stopped a record 80 percent of shots faced, and in 1968 he posted the next-best season by a DU goalie, stopping 77 percent of shots faced. He was named to the All-America third-team in 1969 while earning honorable mention All-American in 1968. Following the 1969 season, he was named as a North-South Senior All-Star and earned the team’s Most Valuable Player award. He also was featured in the May 5, 1969, issue of Sports Illustrated. The article by Peter Carry titled “Big Sticks of the Midwest” talked about the rise in popularity of college lacrosse in the Midwest. Portrayed somewhat as a renaissance man, Martin was specifically highlighted in the article for his upbringing on an Ohio farm, for his love of writing poetry, and his uncanny ability to “eat the ball,” which is another way of saying that he made great saves by using his body.
While at Denison, Martin was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. He earned his bachelor of arts in 1969 and went on to receive a master of science in natural resources from Ohio State University and another master’s degree from the Conway School of Landscape Design in Massachusetts. Martin continued to play competitive lacrosse into the 1980s, earning Most Valuable Player accolades from the Cleveland Lacrosse Club, the Columbus Lacrosse Club and the Lexington (Ky.) Lacrosse Club. Bob is currently employed as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo. He lives in Columbus and has two sons, Max and Ryan.
Jill M. Westerfeld (Track & Field/Soccer)
Jill Westerfeld was an All-American and four-year letter winner for the Denison women’s track and field team between 1998 and 2001. Westerfeld became the program’s very first All-American in 2001 after her performance in the 400-meter dash at the NCAA Division III Championship. She was named the North Coast Athletic Conference’s Most Outstanding Sprinter/Hurdler on four occasions. Three of those honors came at the Indoor Track & Field Championships, and one came in 2001 at the NCAC Outdoor Championship. A 10-time conference champion with 33 All-NCAC performances to her credit, Westerfeld was named to the conference’s 20th Anniversary team in 2004.
From 1998 through 2001 she led Denison to four-straight NCAC Indoor Track & Field Championships. She is the current holder of seven Denison school records, and she holds two conference records in the outdoor 400-meter dash and the indoor 800-meter relay.
In addition to her accomplishments on the track, Westerfeld also enjoyed a successful first-year as a member of the Denison women’s soccer team. She was named the NCAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1997 after scoring 19 goals to lead Denison to a 16-3-2 record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Westerfeld also was named to the All-Great Lakes Region team and the All-Ohio first-team.
After earning her bachelor’s from Denison, Westerfeld went on to earn a master’s in labor and human resources from Ohio State University. She has been employed by Ohio Dominican University in Columbus for the last eight years, serving as the assistant director of graduate admissions since 2007. Westerfeld also is involved in ministry leadership, recently earning a certificate through the Vineyard Leadership Institute. She also holds a leadership role with the Fellowship for Christian Athletes organization.
Jill lives in Columbus and is the daughter of Larry and Ginny Westerfeld.
E. John “Jack” Tamblyn ’39 (Football/Baseball/Basketball - Athletic Citation)
John “Jack” Tamblyn is this year’s recipient of the Varsity D Association’s Athletic Citation for his accomplishments as an athlete at Denison and for his lifelong contributions to the Denison football program. The presentation will be posthumous, as Tamblyn passed away in 2003 at the age of 85.
Tamblyn was a three-year letter winner in football, a two-year letter winner in basketball, and a two-year letter winner in baseball. On the football field, Tamblyn enjoyed his best season in 1938 as a halfback on Denison’s 6-2 squad. He was named to the Ohio Conference All-Star team as a senior and was honored as Little All-American as well as All-Phi Delta Theta in 1938. In 1937, Tamblyn’s Denison football team captured the Ohio Conference divisional championship. In two seasons of basketball and baseball he would play guard and third base, respectively.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Denison, Tamblyn went on to Wayne State University before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1941, and later in the U.S. Navy. He would go on to earn the rank of Ensign while serving in the Navy during World War II. After leaving the military, Tamblyn worked in sales, then partnering to open a restaurant chain. In 1974, he opened a manufacturer’s representative business named NY-TAM, Inc., where he would remain as president, even following his retirement. A devoted lover of sports, Jack spent countless hours coaching youth athletics while also serving as chairman of the Detroit Boat Club’s swimming committee and the Grosse Pointe Senior Men’s Tennis Club.
Jack was married to his wife, Barbara, for 61 years. They had three children; son Jack; and daughters Nancy and Peggy, along with six grandchildren.
His undying love of Denison athletics never wavered. Since his passing, at the conclusion of preseason training camp, the entire Big Red football team is treated to a meal at a local restaurant that is paid for annually by Tamblyn. “Dinner on Jack” has become a treasured tradition of the Denison football program. Tamblyn’s legacy also lives on today through the establishment of the Jack Tamblyn Memorial Award which is presented annually to the member of the Denison football team who demonstrates the highest degree of integrity, enthusiasm, team spirit, dedication and love of the game throughout the season.
2001 Women’s Swimming and Diving Team
Also earning special recognition from the Varsity D Association this weekend will be members of the 2001 NCAA Division III National Women’s Swimming and Diving Championship team. In March of 2001 the Big Red earned Denison’s first-ever NCAA national team championship by winning 10 of 20 national event titles, posting 30 All-American performances and setting four national records. Denison junior Mollie Parrish was named the NCAA Division III Swimmer of the Year and Gregg Parini was named National Coach of the Year.
This year’s Denison Athletic Hall of Fame class will be inducted at the Varsity D Association Hall of Fame banquet on Friday (Sept. 23) at 6:30 p.m. A live online video stream of the event will be provided at www.denisonbigred.com. On Saturday, at halftime of Denison’s 1 p.m. football game against Case Western Reserve, the inductees along with members of the 2001 women’s swimming and diving team, will be recognized by University President Dale Knobel and Rich Seils ’67, Varsity D Association president.