Penn Athletics will be inducting its Hall of Fame Class VIII this Saturday, May 5 at the Inn at Penn. As we prepare for the upcoming ceremony, we will be introducing each inductee over the next several days. Click here to find the original release on all the inductees, from February 22.
Penn has fielded a sprint football team since 1932 and no player has dominated the ground game like Timothy Ortman. In his four seasons as a running back, Ortman ran his way to the top of the career rushing yardage list while mounting an attack on the single-game and single season rushing marks.
A four-time letterwinner who served as team captain in 1998 and 1999, Ortman began his sprint football career with a freshman season in 1996 where he was named the Thomas Stilwell Award recipient as Outstanding Freshman. That 1996 season was the first of two championship runs for Ortman as a sprint football player as Penn finished 5-1 for its most successful season in more than 55 years.
In 1997, Ortman set the first of three single-season rushing records with 977 yards as he earned the first of a record three Lt. Charles E. Schmucker Awards as Penn's Ideal Sprint Football Player. To this day, he is still the only player to receive that award three times. He was also named the team's Outstanding Offensive Back for the first of three times -- an award that has been since renamed in his honor.
The 1998 season saw Ortman earn the first of back-to-back Eastern Lightweight Football League (ELFL) Most Valuable Player Award honors as he carried the Quakers to a another ELFL championship. Along the way, Ortman shattered his own school record for rushing yards in a season with 1,108 yards, and he established a new career rushing record in the process.
In his final campaign with the sprint football team, Ortman was again named ELFL Most Valuable Player as he put a fitting stamp on his stellar football career. He totaled 1,218 yards rushing in 1999 - a school record that stands to this day. On Nov. 6, 1999 Ortman almost single-handedly destroyed Navy, amassing a school-record 363 yards on 47 carries and scoring four touchdowns in a 37-14 win over the Midshipmen. When all was said and done, Ortman finished his career holding the top five single-game rushing totals in Penn history-and today he still holds five of the top six. Over his four seasons, Ortman put up an incredible 3,670 rushing yards to set a school record that no other Penn sprint football player has come within 1,000 yards of.
What makes Ortman's efforts all the more impressive is that he was more than simply a sprint football player. When his season on the gridiron finished, he transitioned to the wrestling mats where he was also a key cog on Roger Reina's teams. A three-time letterwinner with the grapplers, Ortman was twice named the team's Most Improved Wrestler. After finishing fourth at the 1998 EIWA Championships at 150 pounds and fifth in 2000 at 165 pounds, Ortman saved his best season for his final campaign, where he was the 2001 EIWA champion at 165 pounds and named first-team All-Ivy. During his time with the wrestling program, Ortman was part of four Ivy League championship teams and three EIWA championship teams.
"I would like to give my humble thanks for being included in this elite group of athletes. For me, this is an amazing bonus to the many great things Penn has done for me. To receive a top education and be a part of two terrific programs helped create the greatest experience imaginable. Competing in The Palestra and on Franklin Field was a dream come true. My special thanks go out to both Roger Reina and Bill Wagner for being amazing coaches, mentors, and friends. Both coaches put together staffs that created an environment of success. Coach Reina unselfishly allowed me to pursue my career in football while pushing me to be an accomplished wrestler. Coach Wagner generously gave me the opportunity to run the football time and time again, allowing me to do what I love the most. Without my teammates the experience would not be complete. They all made me a better athlete and will always be my friends. To be a member of six championship teams proves how great they were. Finally, I would like to thank the most influential people in my athletic career, my family. My siblings Katie, Mike and Liz traveled far and wide to support me and were never shy about giving words of encouragement. My father helped me learn the lessons of an athlete while providing the guidance of a coach. My mother is the heart and soul of all my accomplishments, always putting me before herself. Once again I thank Penn and everyone who helped me have success. My wife Lori and I are enjoying raising our sons as future Quakers."