MOUNT VERNON – A dynamic four-sport athlete, an All-American track and field thrower and a long-time football coach will be enshrined in Cornell College's Athletics Hall of Fame during Homecoming Weekend.
The 2014 inductees are Matt Ditch '04 (football, basketball, track & field, baseball), Kelly Dodd '00 (women's track & field) and Jim Wallace '68 (assistant football coach). They will be formally recognized at the Hall of Fame Induction/Alumni 'C' Club Breakfast that starts at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Smith Dining Room of the Thomas Commons.
Fans can catch the ceremony via live webcast at 2014 Hall of Fame Induction.
There was little Ditch didn't accomplish on the athletics scene during an incredible four-year span in which he earned 12 varsity letters – four each in football and basketball, three in track & field, and one in baseball. The Center Point native holds the distinction as the first Iowa Conference athlete named first team all-conference in three sports (football, basketball, track & field) in the same season (2002-03).
Ditch was a rare two-way player (wide receiver and defensive back) in football. He also served as the team's punter, where he racked up a school-record 5,978 yards on 169 attempts. Ditch earned first team all-IIAC honors at receiver in 2002 and 2003, while gaining third team all-region accolades his senior year.
Ditch ranks third on Cornell's all-time list for receiving touchdowns (24), fourth in receptions (134) and receiving yards (2,152), and eighth in total points (170). In the penultimate home game of his senior season, Ditch showcased his defensive skills with three interceptions – two which he returned for touchdowns – in a 63-6 rout of Dubuque.
A standout guard on the hardwood, Ditch gained first team all-IIAC honors in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. He became a member of Cornell's 1,000-point club (1,077) and drained 116 career 3-point goals, which ranks eighth all-time.
Ditch was crowned long jump champion at the 2003 IIAC Outdoor Track & Field Championships. A four-time IIAC outdoor individual placewinner, Ditch still holds the school record in the long jump with a mark of 23-0.75.
Ditch was a starting outfielder for the baseball team in 2002. In his second collegiate game at the plate, Ditch belted two home runs and collected five RBIs in a win over Dubuque.
Cornell honored Ditch as its Freshman Male Athlete of the Year in 2001, and Senior Male Athlete of the Year in 2004.
Dodd, a native of Silt, Colo., made her mark in the throwing circle for Cornell's track and field program. She enjoyed an outstanding junior campaign, claiming the 1999 Iowa Conference outdoor title in the discus followed by an all-America finish at the NCAA Division III Championships.
Dodd placed eighth in the discus at outdoor nationals with a distance of 133-0. At the time, Dodd was only the second woman in school history to garner all-America accolades in a throwing event.
Dodd lettered four years (1997-2000) in both indoor and outdoor track and field. She competed in the discus, shot put, javelin and hammer throw. Dodd was a three-time IIAC placewinner in the shot put, and two-time placewinner in the discus.
Dodd is the current school-record holder in the discus with a toss of 139-11.50, set in 1999. She was recipient of Cornell's Russell W. Landis Award in 2000.
Wallace, a 1964 Mount Vernon High School graduate, was a fixture on the Ram football sidelines during a successful era that spanned four decades. He spent 32 total years (1978-2009) as an offensive assistant, making him the longest-serving coach in one sport in Cornell's storied history.
Wallace helped guide the Rams to five Midwest Conference football championships (1995, 1992, 1984, 1980 and 1978), highlighted by an undefeated 10-0 run in 1992. He was part of a dominant period from 1978-97 during which the Rams finished .500 or better in 18 of 20 seasons.
His coaching career on the Hilltop included eight seasons as a men's basketball assistant (1980-88), two seasons as head men's track and field coach (1979-80) and two seasons heading the men's golf program (1988-89).
Wallace was Cornell's starting center for three years in football (1965-67). He also was a three-year member on the basketball and baseball teams. The 1966-67 basketball team finished 17-5 and was crowned conference co-champions under legendary head coach Paul Maaske.
Wallace's post-graduate career began with 10 collective seasons coaching football, basketball and track at the high school level at Fredericksburg, English Valleys and Northeast Goose Lake.
|NCAA Championships (Zilaitis - shot put)|
|NCAA Championships (Zilaitis - hammer throw)|