Greene County News
FAIRBORN — Before Wright State’s men’s soccer game on Monday night, the 1988 squad was honored with a pregame ceremony. Former players and coaches were reunited on the field while receiving framed jerseys with a throwback design.
The Raiders had a team record 16 wins in 1988, including a marquee victory over national power Akron. Head coach Greg Andrulis didn’t hesitate to say that what stood out just as much as the on-field success was the people on the team and their supporters.
“It way the people I remember a heck of a lot more than any particular win or loss. It was a close-knit group that functioned together and had a lot of fun,” Andrulis said. “Above and beyond the wins the thing we all remember is the life long relationships we developed.”
“We had a great group of parents called the friends of Raider soccer. They did phenomenal stuff for us. Back on the old field they built the concession stand and came to all of our games.”
A few qualities on the roster that stood out to Andrulis included the flair of Jamaican players Michael McDonald and Errol Douglas, toughness from Jeff Popp in the backfield and the ironman ability of John Gibbs on the right flank. Additionally he remembered the running ability of Jim Kinderdine and Neil Chandler in the midfield and long throwing from forward Brian Waltersheide.
“One guy might have scored the goal, but it was a total team effort. That is what made that group so special,” Andrulis said. “They really had a tight bond. It was more of the relationships that built everything together.”
During the pregame festivities there was a moment of silence and team prayer for the starting goalkeeper and MVP of the 1988 team, Sherman Mink, who passed away last spring.
When Andrulis was recruiting Mink he saw him play a game at goalie and as a field player. He asked Mink’s high school coach what his true position was, and he replied, “He (Mink) is as good as you need him to be at any position you need him to be at.”
Mink went on to shine at goalie for WSU by setting team records in shutouts and goals against average. Aside from making goals an elusive sight for opponents, Andrulis lauded Mink for his character.
“You would be hard pressed to find a better human being. The reason the records are not even greater is that one year he played as a center back,” Andrulis said. “He made the sacrifice for the team. He was an academic All-American and great family guy. He raised four great kids, and two of them have scholarships to Division I programs.”
Mink’s wife Missy, who was in attendance Monday night, was on the WSU women’s basketball team from 1987-90. She met Sherman after a friend introduced them in business class.
“I think they were going to honor the team originally. When Sherman passed they decided to dedicate something special to him,” she said “It was really nice, especially for my kids to see how special his team was and that their dad was honored.”
After his career at WSU came to a close following the 1996 season Andrulis went on to coach the Columbus Crew, where he later won the franchise’s first MLS title in 2002. He has been the head coach at George Mason since 2006. He still credits his experience at WSU in his development as a coach.
“Everything started here. I learned how to coach here. It was my first head coaching job, and I was lucky enough that Mike gave me the opportunity when I was fairly young. I learned my craft here and had great assistant coaches.”
Forward Gene Baker now lives and works in Boston, and he feels soccer instilled the work ethic he needed to have a successful career. For Baker, who hadn’t seen some of his teammates in 28 years, the team dedication was a great honor.
“It brought back a lot of great memories. It was really surprising that they gave us those pictures,” Baker said. I flew in to be part of this, and it’s been one of the greatest things that I’ve done.”
Darren Hoff was the backup goalie in 1988, but he says there was no animosity between him and Mink.
“He (Mink) was a better athlete than me. The funny thing is that you would think as the two guys vying for the same position you would not be too happy with each other,” Hoff said. “As a result of us going through the same training we were a lot closer and better because we would compete at everything.”
The unbreakable bond that the 1988 Raiders demonstrated makes the description Hoff had for his team fitting, which is “A band of brothers.”