By Tony Miller, Sports Editor
Where are Goshen’s athletic teams based?
For basketball and volleyball, many of the Leaf faithful could name Gunden Gymnasium, the 2,500 seat multi-purpose facility in the Recreation-Fitness Center that has hosted Goshen athletes since they moved out of the Union gym almost two decades ago. Many members of the GC community could name the building’s namesake Ruth Gunden, who coached three sports before retiring and still often returns to the bleachers in the arena.
But, of course, our men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball teams make up just three of Goshen’s 20 varsity sports teams. While all of the other squads host events outside, save an occasional indoor track meet, their home base is still the $7.3 million Roman Gingerich Recreation Fitness Center, also known as the RFC.
One reason that the center is called by its full name less frequently than the gym, at least on this campus, is the fact that Gunden’s name refers to a living person many of us have met. Roman L. Gingerich, the Holmes County, Ohio native for whom the center is named and the third-winningest basketball coach in Goshen history, never saw his building; he passed away on Jan. 15, 1989, at the age of 69. Gingerich, like Gunden, stood at the helm of three Goshen sports during his tenure: baseball, basketball and golf.
There are several other athletic venues that the Leafs could name if they wanted to: baseball, softball, soccer and tennis all play at some variation of the Goshen College Athletic Complex. While the track is geographically part of that complex, it has a name of its own: the Eigsti Track and Field Complex, in honor of donors Orie and Agnes Eigsti.
But as for the large teal, steel and brick building to the track’s west, let us not forget the Roman who inspired it.