William Enlow Amos ’28 is the 2012 Robert M. Murphy Award Winner. He was a bruising fullback for the Presidents, known as “The Wild Bill Of Campus”. Amos was a three-sport athlete at W&J, lettering three years in football and basketball and two years in track & field. He was a two-time football team captain and led the Presidents to a 20-3-1 record as a player. During a 20-6 victory over Carnegie Tech at Forbes Field in October 1927, Amos scored all three W&J touchdowns, including a school-record 90-yard punt return. That game set a school record for attendance as 12,000 fans were there to see the Presidents’ victory. The 1927 Presidents appeared to be on their way to their second trip to the Rose Bowl, but W&J tied West Virginia in the season finale and was not selected, despite a 7-0-2 record (also tied Pitt 0-0). A two-time All-American and All-East selection, Amos picked up the sport of football at the age of 17 as an American soldier in France. He played in two East-West Shrine Games and made a career out of football, becoming the Presidents’ head coach and guiding W&J to 17 victories from 1929-1931. On October 25, 1930, he was the coach for the first indoor college football night game as W&J played Lafayette in Atlantic City, N.J. Amos later became the head coach at Grove City College and Washington High School. He was one of the founders of PONY Baseball and was instrumental in bringing the “Punt, Pass & Kick” program to Washington, Pennsylvania. In 1973, Amos was honored with the W&J Distinguished Service Award due to his dedication to the development of youth sports in the community.
Brian Dawson ’03 etched his name into national and school record books following his four-year career as an All-America quarterback for the Washington & Jefferson College football team. Dawson still holds eight school records after setting 22, including passing yards (10,257), which at the time of his graduation was the fifth-highest total in NCAA Division III history. In 2003, Dawson was one of 42 quarterbacks in all NCAA divisions (I, I-AA, II or III) to total at least 10,000 passing yards in a career. Those passing yards remain today as the 19th-best total in NCAA Division III history. In 41 career games, Dawson completed 668-of-1,136 passes (.588) for 91 touchdowns. He also amassed 10,065 total offensive yards in 1,380 plays. His 10,065 yards of total offense were the ninth-best total in NCAA Division III history at the time of his graduation. In addition, Dawson’s 91 career touchdown tosses were also the 10th best total, while his average of 250.2 career passing yards per game ranked 21st in the 2003 Division III record book. Dawson compiled one of the top seasons by a quarterback in NCAA history in 2000 when he led the nation in passing efficiency (201.5). He completed 65.6 percent of his passes (149-of-227) for 2,675 yards and 29 touchdowns in 10 games. His 201.5 rating remains as the 11th-best, single-season mark in NCAA history. Dawson finished his career as a two-time Presidents’ Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and a four-time All-PAC selection. In addition, he earned All-America honors from Football Gazette and Hewlett Packard following the 2001 season. Dawson started every game of his career after being one of the only players in school history to earn the starting quarterback job during his rookie season.
Rafael Perez-Mendez ’91 will long be remembered as one of the most talented swimmers in Washington & Jefferson College history. The son of an Air Force colonel, Perez-Mendez lived in many locations in the United States during his childhood, always joining the local swim team to continue the sport he loved. He attended John Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas and competed in the Texas High School Swimming Championships as a senior. He originally attended LaSalle University on a swimming scholarship before transferring to W&J for his final three collegiate seasons. Perez-Mendez won five Presidents’ Athletic Conference Championships, including four individual events. The 1989 Team Most Valuable Swimmer, he set numerous school records. He owned school records in the 200 freestyle (1:47.82), 1,000 freestyle (10:34.98), 100 breaststroke (1:01.62), 200 breaststroke (2:13.82), 200 butterfly (2:01.32) and 200 IM (1:59.61). He was also a member of four record-setting relays (200 medley, 200, 400 and 800 freestyles). Perez-Mendez ranked among the top 30 swimmers nationally in three different events (100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 IM). As a senior, he was the 100 and 200 breaststroke conference champion, while also leading the 200 freestyle relay to a title. He helped the Presidents win 27 dual meets, including an 11-2 record during his junior year. That record was the best by a men’s swimming & diving team in 35 years.
Kelley Ryan Mistretta ’95 starred during her three seasons with the Washington & Jefferson women’s basketball team. After missing her freshman year due to an injury, the St. Francis Academy High School graduate took the Presidents’ Athletic Conference by storm and scored 991 points, grabbed 306 rebounds and dished out 186 assists over her three collegiate years. She became one of only eight players in school history to be selected as the PAC Most Valuable Player after finishing the 1994-95 season 25th in NCAA Division III in scoring with an average of 20.7 points per game. The left-handed guard also provided averages of 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 steals and 2.5 assists during the year. Mistretta led the conference in scoring and steals and helped W&J make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. Mistretta notched 18 points, five rebounds and two assists in the Presidents’ first-round loss to Capital in the NCAA Tournament. On Feb. 15, 1995, Mistretta set the school record for three-pointers made in a game with seven during a 90-52 rout of Frostburg State at the Henry Memorial Center. During the 1993-94 season, Mistretta averaged 15.5 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.6 steals per game as the Presidents captured their first-ever Presidents’ Athletic Conference and ECAC Division III Tournament championships. A 1994 All-PAC choice, Mistretta fired in 16 points, while adding five steals and four assists during a 79-73 ECAC semifinal win over Dickinson before supplying 12 points, four assists and two steals in an 87-73 championship-clinching win against Moravian. The 1993-94 team was ranked as high as fifth in the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Regional Rankings, the highest in school history to that point. Washington & Jefferson amassed a 52-17 record in Ryan’s three letter winning seasons, including a 19-5 mark in conference play.
Vicki Staton has been the face of women’s sports at Washington & Jefferson College for nearly four decades and a valued mentor for thousands of Presidents’ student-athletes. Staton coached her first volleyball game on Oct. 15, 1975 and served as the head coach for 28 seasons, racking up 367 victories. Staton, who coached her first basketball game on Jan. 15, 1976, also directed the women's basketball program for 25 seasons and helped the Presidents claim 279 victories. Staton's volleyball squads won five Presidents' Athletic Conference titles (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999) and two ECAC South Region Championships (1996 and 1997). She was honored as the PAC Volleyball Coach of the Year five times. Her basketball teams captured seven Pennwood Athletic Conference Championships (1978-1981, 1983-1985), three Presidents' Athletic Conference titles (1994, 1996, 1998) and an ECAC Southern Division III Championship (1994). Staton is W&J’s all-time coaching wins leader with 646. Upon her retirement from head coaching duties, Staton ranked 24th in NCAA Division III history on both volleyball and basketball all-time coaching victory lists. In June 2001, she was inducted into to the Washington-Greene chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. Staton served as the director of physical education, wellness and intramurals at the college and was also the interim director of athletics for one year. She fully retired from the college in 2011. Ten of Staton’s former players have been inducted into the W&J Athletics Hall of Fame. Five of her players in each sport earned the PAC Player of the Year award a total of 13 times.