The Hill School Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Athlete: Ralph Hills '21

Ralph Hills was a national record setter in both the 12 pound and 16 pound shot puts, and is the only Pennsylvanian to hold national records in either event; the 16-pound shot put is the weight currently contested at the collegiate and Olympic levels. Ralph was named the first-team All-American shot putter during his fifth form year in 1920 after winning the national AAU Junior championship with a toss of 44’ 10”, which was a state record with the 16 pound shot. Having thrown farther than the fourth-place finisher at the next day's AAU meet, he was named to the 1920 U.S. Olympic Team, although he did not compete in that year's games. The next year, he set a short-lived national record of 53’ 5” with the 12 pound shot, which also was a school record that stood for 28 years.

In addition to the shot, Ralph excelled in the hammer throw, which was a commonly contested high school event at the time. He was a three-time All-American in the event, and his best throw of 181’ stood as the fifth-best ever in U.S. high school history at the time. His versatility extended beyond the throws, as Ralph was the fastest hurdler in the state his sixth form year, running 16.2 over the 42” hurdles, which is the current collegiate hurdle height. He qualified for and competed in the 1924 Olympics and was the bronze medalist in the shot put.

Athlete: Mike Vollmer '86

Mike Vollmer was a tremendous all-around athlete at The Hill, serving as captain of the 1985 football team that finished with a 7-1-1 record; he was the captain of the 1985-86 wrestling team and placed second at the state championship match; and also was captain of the state champion 1986 lacrosse team. During his sixth form year, Mike was the president of the Hill Athletic Association, and at the 1986 Commencement ceremony he was awarded the Riley Award, given to the sixth former who best demonstrates high leadership and outstanding sportsmanship in competitive athletics. He went on to attend Harvard, where he was a member of the Crimson's football team. After his senior season at Harvard, Mike was named second-team All-Ivy for his strong play on the defensive line.

After college, Mike earned a law degree and returned to his home state of Ohio, where he fought for those who were not strong enough to fight for their own social security benefits and also continued his involvement in sports by coaching at the youth level.

Coach: Don Ronnie

Don Ronnie arrived at The Hill School after graduating from Colgate in 1955 and immediately became the head varsity boys’ basketball coach, a position he would hold for 37 years. He can still be seen on the bench at home games today, as he has remained an assistant coach with the program since his retirement as head coach. In 1956-57, he guided the team to its first victory over Lawrenceville in 10 seasons, and in 1963-64 led the team to a perfect 17-0 season, the first undefeated basketball team since 1941 – no team has gone undefeated since, though there have been plenty of outstanding teams. The 1969-70 team finished 16-4, and the 1970-71 team set a new program record with 18 wins, including three wins against Lawrenceville and an upset of the top team in New Jersey, Admiral Farragut.

In 1977-78, the team won the Mercer Invitational Tournament for the first time. In each of Don's final three seasons, one of his players topped the 1000 career point plateau: Barry Pierce in 1989-90; Steve Eidle in 1990-91; and Todd Marquette in 1991-92. Pierce became the area’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,591 career points and went on to play at Penn; the 1989-90 team set a new program record with 21 wins in a season. He retired with a career head coaching record of 435-305. In 1993, he was inducted into the Tri County Chapter in the Eastern Region of the PA Sports Hall of Fame. Other honors bestowed upon him include: the center circle of Gillison Court being named after him in 2001; the establishment of the Don Ronnie Scholarship Fund in 2001; and recognition for 50 years of service to Hill basketball in 2009.

Extraordinary Sports Achievement: Dick Harter '48

Dick grew up on The Hill's campus as his father, Mr. Charles Harter, was an instructor of science at the School from 1917-58. He was a standout basketball player, and went on to attend the University of Pennsylvania. He is best remembered for his coaching career, however. He began what would become a lengthy, accomplished basketball coaching career at both the collegiate and professional levels at Rider University before returning to Penn in 1966. Dick coached at Penn until 1971, guiding the team to an 88-44 record during his five seasons, including an incredible 44 consecutive regular season victories in 1969-70 and 1970-71.

He accepted the head coach position at the University of Oregon, where he made a name for himself as a defensive specialist. His most famous win at Oregon came in 1976, when the Ducks traveled to UCLA and handed John Wooden's team their first home loss in 98 games. He finished his collegiate coaching career at Penn State University, where he was the head coach from 1978-83. Dick's overall record as a collegiate head coach was an impressive 295-196.

After finishing his college coaching career, Dick made the jump to the NBA as an assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons. He became the first head coach in the history of the expansion Charlotte Hornets in 1988 and remained with the team for two seasons. He then spent the remainder of his career serving as an assistant coach for various teams, including the Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics, and Philadelphia 76ers.

Team: 1949 football

The 1949 football team capped off a perfect 7-0 season with a 40-7 blowout of Lawrenceville at Lawrenceville, which was the worst loss the Larries had suffered at that point in their history. The team outscored its opponents 190-53 for the season, its closest game being a 13-6 victory over a very tough Franklin and Marshall College freshman team. Seven of the team’s starters went on to play collegiate football, including Dick O’Shaughnessy ’50, who captained the University of Michigan’s 1953 football team. Quarterback Lamar Hunt ’51 became a world famous sports icon, and a NFL Films documentary about him showed archival footage of the team in action.

Coach: Wilbur "Jack" Riley

Team Members: Daniel Barren ‘51, John Beebe ‘50, Richard Burket ‘50, Robert Davenport ‘50, Stanton Dossett ‘50, James Fenstermaker ’51, John Frantz ‘50, Edgar Garbisch ‘50, Harry Griffith ‘50, Ronald Horne ‘50, Lamar Hunt ’51, Robert Hunter ‘50, Robert Jeffrey ‘50, Eric Jones ‘50, Earl Killian ‘51, William Luckett ‘50, Robert Malatesta '51, Robert Martin ‘50, Dick O’Shaughnessy ‘50, Tom Richey ’50, Peter Scott ‘50, Wheeler Spackman ‘50, George Wilson ‘50, James Yonge ’50 (capt.)