Robert Bissell ’49 lettered three seasons in both football and basketball during his career as a President. Bissell entered W&J as part of one of the best recruiting classes in school history along side of Deacon Dan Towler, Walter Cooper and Joe Rodjom. Part of one of the greatest backfields in school history, Bissell was known for his hard-nosed running ability and sense of how to get the ball in the endzone. He helped start a tradition of athleticism on offense at the College. Bissell was also honored as an All-Conference basketball player.
Walter Cooper ’50 teamed with Deacon Dan Towler to form one of the most feared backfields in all of college football during the mid-1900s. He lettered four years in football and one in track and field. Cooper was a member of the “Four Gazelles,” the talented backfield from 1949, which was considered the nation’s fastest tandem. He scored more than 10 touchdowns in each his sophomore and junior seasons. Also an accomplished track and field star, Cooper was ranked as one of the top five sprinters in the east.
Edward Guna ’70, 2000 Murphy Award Honoree, was Washington & Jefferson’s second-ever winner of the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. A 1969 Academic All-American, he played numerous positions in his career for the Presidents, including center, defensive end and linebacker. Guna was selected as a team captain during his senior year and went on to earn First Team All-Conference honors.
King Hartman ’59 made an immediate impact on the Washington & Jefferson tennis program, leading the Presidents to 33 straight victories and two conference championships during his career. He was the reigning No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles conference champion in all four years at the College. Hartman was also a two-time conference Most Valuable Player and received the school’s Scholar Athlete Award in 1959. He was ranked among the Top 10 players in the east throughout his career. Hartman also went on to compete on the international level, including a match against the No. 1 ranked Davis Cup player from Italy.
Jaimee Heffner ’99 helped put Washington & Jefferson women’s athletics on the national level by winning the 1997 NCAA Javelin National Championship. She was W&J’s first-ever female graduate to claim a national championship and was the only female in school history to be named a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. A three sport athlete at W&J in volleyball, soccer and track and field, Heffner was a four-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference Champion in the javelin. She also was an outside hitter on the volleyball team and helped the Presidents win the 1995 ECAC Championship. In addition, Heffner was a GTE/CoSIDA Academic All-American.
Scott Herz ’72 graduated as one of the most accomplished basketball players in school history. He was a First Team All-Conference selection in each of his four seasons. Herz also led Washington & Jefferson to three-straight PAC Championships from 1968 thru 1970. During his sophomore season, Herz was named to the Second Team All-State team and earned the conference’s Most Valuable Player award. Herz still holds the college record for highest points per game average in a career with 18.9 points per game as well as most rebounds in a season with 310. He also is the school’s all-time leading rebounder with 1,163 career rebounds.
Mike Jones ’96 finished his career as one of the greatest linemen in W&J football history. He played on Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl runner-up teams in 1992 and in 1994, and advanced to at least the third round of the NCAA playoffs in all four seasons. A three-time All-Presidents’ Athletic Conference honoree, Jones also was named a Kodak All-American in 1994 and a First Team Associated Press/AFCA All-American in 1995. He also earned Academic All-American honors three times in his career. As a captain in 1994, Jones was also awarded the Burger King National Scholar Athlete Award. Jones’ teams won four PAC Championships and compiled a record of 43-6 during his four years as a President.
Pat McCormick ’62 began a tradition of excellence at Washington & Jefferson by being a founding member of the first-ever wrestling team in 1959. McCormick lost just four matches in his career, finishing with a record of 58-4, which still stands as the best winning percentage in school history. His 58 career wins rank him 15th on the all-time win list at the College. He also became W&J’s first wrestler to win four consecutive conference championships. While wrestling at 130 pounds, McCormick led the Presidents to their first-ever conference wrestling championship in 1962.
Don Murray ’64 lettered all four years of his football career. As a sophomore center, he received Honorable Mention All-District laurels. The following year, Murray was named to the First Team All-Conference squad and earned Honorable Mention Little All-America honors. Murray captained the Presidents during his senior year, leading Washington & Jefferson to a tie of the conference championship with John Carroll. W&J won nine of its 14 games in his junior and senior seasons, as Murray anchored an offensive line that finished second in the PAC in offense and in scoring both years.
Larry Pitts ’94 lettered in three varsity sports during his career at W&J. He was one of two P residents to start on the football team his freshman year as a wide receiver/kick returner and earned Second Team All-PAC Honors. Pitts went on to earn First Team All-Conference laurels in each of his next three seasons, leading the Presidents to the NCAA Division III Playoffs each year. He holds the school record for punt return yards in a career with 792. On the baseball diamond, Pitts was a four-time First Team All-PAC performer and led his team to conference championships in 1990 and in 1992. He also was named the conference’s Most Valuable Player as a sophomore.
Chuck Ream coached the Washington & Jefferson football program from 1960 until 1973 and is currently tied for third place on the all-time win list with 36 career victories. He helped turn around a struggling period for W&J, posting five winning seasons during his tenure, including a 7-1 mark during the 1970 season. The 1970 squad captured the first PAC Championship in school history. His 12 years of service as the head football coach is the second longest stint in W&J history. During his time at Washington & Jefferson, Ream was inducted into the Western Pennsylvania Coaches Hall of Fame.
Pete Stracci ’74 was a two-time All-Conference defender for Washington & Jefferson football, earning the award as a junior and as a senior. As a sophomore, Stracci was named to the Honorable Mention All-Pennsylvania State squad. A captain for the 1973 Presidents, he played one of the finest defensive games in school history in a 16-14 win over Case Western. Stracci recorded 25 tackles, a 54-yard interception return for a touchdown, two sacks and a safety. He was also a member of W&J’s first-ever PAC Championship squad in 1970 as a freshman.
Matt Walsh ’88 is credited with being a vital member of W&J’s modern day football success after helping the Presidents to a 9-2 record in 1984 and a trip to the Division III Playoffs. The nine wins in his freshman season was the most victories by a Presidents squad since the 1921 Rose Bowl season. Walsh was a four-year starter, a three-time All-Conference selection and an Academic All-American. In 1987, he was a team captain during Washington & Jefferson’s 10-1 season in which they lost to the eventual national champions in the second round of the playoffs. W&J won 35 games against just six losses in his four seasons and made three trips to the NCAA Playoffs. Walsh also spent time with the San Francisco 49ers upon graduation.