Dr. Lee Meserve has just about seen it all. With 37 years at Bowling Green, he's seen more athletic events than almost anyone. As the Faculty Athletics Representative at BGSU, he represents the department in a variety of ways. This is his second blog post on his memories of BG athletics.
An additional athletics program that Marge and I began to support early on was women’s gymnastics. In the early years, Sue Simpson, wife of then gymnastics coach Dr. Charles Simpson, was a secretary in the Department of Biological Sciences, resulting in chats about the sport with which I had always been fascinated when the Olympics rolled around. Then, Cheryl Vasil (now Cheryl Christiansen, and a member of the BGSU Athletics Hall of Fame) appeared as a student in my anatomy and physiology course. She identified herself as a student-athlete, specifically a gymnast, and I mentioned that my wife and I were interested in the sport and might attend a meet. This all began in 1979. We have missed few home meets since then, and have attended every MAC Championship Meet since 1983. Additionally, when it became possible to designate a portion of the Falcon Club membership to a program, gymnastics got ours with the rationale that the higher profile sports would have many donors, but a “smaller” program could use all the support it could get. This support has morphed into Marge and I being donors to the program at the Champions Circle level. Over the years we have had the pleasure of watching many talented gymnasts including the additional two who are members of the BGSU Hall of Fame (Julie Bender-Cleary and Mary Beth (Friel) Bylsma) as well as Marny Oestrang, the only BGSU female student-athlete to win an NCAA National Championship, which she did in 1999 in floor exercise. We continue to enjoy following current and former gymnasts, having just attended a reception for Jessica Guyer (BGSU ‘06) to celebrate her graduation from Wright State Medical School and her acceptance into the residency program in anesthesiology at the University of North Carolina.
Another program that we began to support in the mid ‘80s was volleyball. This began nearly by accident one evening when I went home from work to find that Marge had had a really crummy day in her medical technology position. In an effort to take her mind off her less than satisfactory day, I mentioned that I had seen a volleyball match advertised that evening, and that we had never been to one of those, although Coach Van De Walle had brought recruits interested in the biological sciences by my office to chat about our major. As appears to be the trend with us, we went to that first match and have missed few home contests since. We started attending in the era of Linda (Popovich) Nicastro, another member of the BGSU Hall of Fame. She was the setter and spark plug for the volleyball team from 1986-90. Linda was also an excellent student, this combination being rewarded by her receipt of the NCAA’s most prestigious post-graduate scholarship, the Walter Byers Scholarship, proceeds of which Linda used to attend law school. The award was made to Linda in 1990, the second year of existence of the award. In the ‘small world’ category, this spring I completed a six-year term as member (four of which I was chair) of the Walter Byers Selection Committee.
These four sports, football, hockey, gymnastics, and volleyball, pretty much made up our athletics world through the 80s. Little did we know that our deeper immersion was on the horizon as we entered the 90s.
Dr. Meserve's First Post