1921 – Daniel (D.W.) Lehman becomes the school’s first athletic director and conducts weekly physical education classes for dormitory students.
1925 – Students are required to walk, do physical labor, or hike for a minimum of two hours per week.
1926 – Upon observing students playing ball, President A.D. Wenger notes that students need to work rather than play “for the preservation of health” and for “moral effect,” but the school lacks employment options.
1926 – The Exercise Hall is built on voluntary basis by faculty and students with a $500 loan from the board of trustees. It includes various exercise items such as climbing ropes, traveling rings, and horizontal bars. The wood-frame building would be demolished by a 1930 summer “twister.”
1929-30 – Students form an after-school league of three teams: Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.
1930 – A new exercise hall of red concrete block is completed by November 1930 at a cost of about $1,500, and has six basketball hoops and other exercise equipment. The building was not heated and was nicknamed X-Hall (and then, in 1945, Kuhl Hall, by student Byard “Doc” Deputy).
1940 – A student handbook note reads, “One period of supervised exercise required per week for all students except day students. Three hours of exercise required of all dormitory students. Exercise must be taken in at least 30-minute periods.” Cleaning one’s room or walking to town was not to be recorded.
1942 – A student handbook note reads, “Boys must not attend basketball played by girls. The girls may attend boys’ basketball games only when announced for Friday afternoons and evenings.”
1947 – President J.L. Stauffer announces to the faculty that “some of the boys had played basketball with the Publishing House team.” Both EMC and Scottdale (Pa.) authorities express disapproval of this break of the purely intramural practices. As a sign of its increasing presence in campus life, however, The SHEN devotes five full pages to intermural athletics.
1950s – Later in the decade, several groups travel to Goshen College and to Messiah College, which seems to have been tolerated by school officials.
1956 – A team from Lancaster County challenges the Literary All Stars in a spirited “College vs. the World” basketball game in the standing-room-only Kuhl Hall.
1958 – The new gym, built at a cost of $255,000, is dedicated on April 26. The court is regulation size, and the student center houses a bookstore, post office, snack shop, classrooms, and facilities for a wide variety of games and activities.
1959 – Health and Recreation Committee minutes state, “In as much as the problem of extramural games has been recurring, we recommend to the Administration Committee that a specified number of home games be permitted with church-related groups each year.”
1961 – Administration issues a statement of policy regarding extramural games dubbed the “10 Commandments.”
1962 – The first sanctioned varsity team, a group of “Literary Ball” stars nicknamed the “Shen Men,” trounces Messiah College and Madison College before losing a close game to Goshen College.
1964 – The SHEN pictures the EMC Courtiers basketball team and action shots from track and field.
1964 – Men’s soccer begins with a 2-0 season. In the SHEN of the following year, a soccer team photo appears for the first time, showing 18 players, including five men from African and Middle Eastern countries.
1965 – The men’s basketball team plays Madison College twice, winning 84-46 the first time and 87-60 the second. EMC also beats Messiah 98-73 and Washington & Lee 87-60.
1966 – EMC fields a women’s basketball team in the school’s first intercollegiate competition for women. The team, coached by Miriam Mumaw, went 0-5.
1966 – Men’s basketball travels Kings College (New York) for their annual sports tournament and wins second place.
1966 – The SHEN devotes 14 pages to athletics.
1966 – The SHEN says that although “field hockey is not an academic offering, girls lit teams took it from there when field hockey was placed under sports trophy competition.”
1967 – Track and field photos in the SHEN show participation by women and men.
1967 – Wrestling begins and continues through 1978.
1967 – EMC joins the Virginia Soccer Conference, and cross-country becomes a varsity sport.
1967 – The women’s basketball team, coached by Miriam Mumaw, defeats Madison College twice, 36-31 and 46-42 and finishes with a 4-2 season record. The SHEN titles pages devoted to the men’s team, with a record of 3-10, “A Season of Mediocrity.”
1967 – Men’s tennis begins and runs until 1981, then again from 1996-2006.
1967 – Expanding varsity schedules leave fewer students opting to play “literary ball,” and class teams replace literary teams.
1968 – A new cinder track provides a better running surface.
1968 – The cross country team, coached by Roland Landes, posts an 18-0 record and wins EMC’s first varsity championship.
1969 – The baseball team plays a six-game season (18 games are played the next year). EMC beats the Madison College men’s basketball team 58-57.
1970 – The “Courtiers” become the “Royals.”
1970 – Women’s basketball changes from a six-player to five-player format.
1971 – Field hockey becomes a varsity sport.
1971 – The first women’s volleyball team is coached by Miriam Mumaw.
1971 – Bill Russell, Boston Celtics Hall of Famer, addresses a crowd in Lehman Auditorium.
1972 – Title IX Act mandates equal funding for women’s sports.
1973 – Bruce Tutt sinks two free throws for a 72-71 win on Jan. 20 over James Madison College.
1973 – Women’s volleyball defeats local rival Madison College to win the state championship.
1973 – EMC beats Madison College in men’s basketball on Jan. 20, 1973, with a score of 72-71 at home.
1973-74 – Many athletes play multiple sports: Athlete of the Year Curtis Berkey letters in soccer, basketball, and tennis.
1974 – Men’s cross country captures the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) championship. They will finish second in 1975, and win both ODAC and NCCAA championships in 1976.
1975 – The Oakwood/Birchwood flag football team wins the “Toilet Bowl,” one of the many coveted results in vigorous intramural competition.
1976 – EMC is one of the founding members of Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC).
1976-77 – In a Royals field hockey first, Jo Branner and Karen Yoder are selected for the national tournament in Philadelphia.
1978 – EMC sponsors a women’s cross country team — with a single member, Faith Eidse. She placed first at all dual and tri- meets, and 12th in the state meet.
1978 – The Loyal Royals become an official arm of the Alumni Association.
1978 – With falling participation numbers, the wrestling program disbands after the 1978 season.
1978 – Cross country wins the ODAC and NCCAA championships.
1979 – Kenny Layman comes in fourth nationally in the 5000 meters and is NCAA All American and Ind. Champ, ODAC Runner of the Year, and Virginia State Champ. He was also ODAC Runner of the Year in 1976 and 1977, NCCAA Ind. Champ twice in 1977, and ODAC Women’s Coach of the Year in 1987.
1980 – Softball begins.
1980 – The field hockey team is the first EMC team to qualify for a national tournament.
1982 – Old Dominion Athletic Conference adds women’s sports.
1982 – Women’s volleyball is undefeated in ODAC play; they will accomplish this feat again in 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1994. The year also kicks off a six-year dominance in which EMC volleyball wins six consecutive ODAC Championships.
1985 – Sandy Brownscombe, professor in the physical education department, leads the Royals to the women’s basketball ODAC title and is named ODAC women’s basketball coach of the year.
1987 – Larry Sheets ‘83 is MVP for the Baltimore Orioles. Drafted out of R.E. Lee High School into professional baseball in 1978, he attended EMU in the off-season and played on the basketball team while earning a degree in physical education. In 1983, he was an assistant coach under baseball head coach Roland Landes. His last season in the MLB was 1989.
1987 – Just five years after women’s sports entered the ODAC, three Royals fall sports teams set a never-matched record: field hockey, volleyball and cross country teams go unbeaten in regular-season play.
1989 – Turf field completed.
1990 – The baseball team beats cross-town rival Bridgewater College 7-6 for the first time. They lose two other games to the Eagles by one run, a vast improvement over their 33-0 drubbing of 1988. Read more about this era in a profile of Daryl Lambert ’92.
1990 – Sandy Brownscombe becomes the first coach of the men’s volleyball team. She is likely the first woman to coach a men’s intercollegiate volleyball team in the United States.
1991 – The outdoor track facility is completed.
1991 – The baseball field is completed. Prior to this, teams competed at Harrisonburg High School’s stadium.
1995 – Field hockey finishes third in the NCAA Final Four.
1996 – The men’s tennis program is restarted after a 15-year hiatus and runs until 2006.
1998 – Sandy Brownscombe guides the men’s volleyball team to the Molten Division III Final Four Championship.
1998 – Men’s soccer team advances to the Sweet Sixteen.
1998 – Women’s tennis program starts. It will continue through 2005.
1999 – Women’s soccer program begins.
2000 – University Commons completed.
2000 – Laura Rosenberger wins the NCAA title in the pole vault. She will win two more national outdoor titles and one indoor title,while dominating ODAC indoor and outdoor championships. She does compete her senior year to prepare for medical school, then resumes training after graduation for the Olympic Trials. Read more.
2001 – Women’s cross country wins the ODAC Championship.
2001 – Women’s soccer’s best overall season record is 15-4 (.789).
2002 – Catcher Erik Kratz ends a record-setting career at EMU, catching every pitch of every game and becoming ODAC Player of the Year for the second season. His 77 career doubles still stands as an NCAA Division III record. He is drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 29th round.
2008 – The turf field upgrade is completed.
2009 – Alyssa Derstine is field hockey’s most decorated athlete. She is an All-American Second Team selection, a Division III Senior All-Star (selected by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association), and a two-time ODAC Player of the Year.
2009-10 – Men’s basketball notches 25 wins, winning national recognition in polls and advancing to a berth in the NCAA Division III Sweet 16.
2010 – The softball team, seeded eighth, defeats Virginia Wesleyan 5-1 to win the ODAC Championship and advance to the Division III National Championship for the first time in school history.
2015 – EMU puts an all-time high 103 athletes on the Old Dominion Athletic Conference All-Academic Team.
2015 – Basketball player Jess Rheinheimer wins the Jostens Award, the second junior ever to win the national award based on excellence on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
2016 – Men’s and women’s golf begins.
2016 – Senior Jess Rheinheimer is Academic All-American of the Year. She also is the first woman to ever win both the ODAC Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete awards twice, among other honors. She helped the Royals to some of the best seasons in program history, including a run of three straight NCAA National Tournament appearances.
2016 – Deana Moren Baker ’86, All-ODAC and All-American player, is inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
2016 – Senior Hannah Chappell-Dick is a finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year award. The cross country and track athlete is a five-time All-American and six-time ODAC/Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Scholar-Athlete, among other honors.
2017 – The new gym floor is finished.