BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College homecoming festivities returned to campus this year with the dedication of the new Bison football field in honor of longtime coach Don Ault and the crowning of Bethany’s royalty.

The Motz Group recently installed synthetic turf on the playing surface at Bison Stadium, and the Bethany Board of Trustees voted last month to rename the field in memorial of Ault.

“Today as we gather for the 2021 homecoming football game, I am honored to recognize one of Bethany College’s legends, Coach Don Ault,” Bethany College President Tamara Nichols Rodenberg said. “His passion and leadership on the field not only made him a great coach, but a great mentor of so many young men.”

Ault’s daughter, Debbie Ault, cut the ribbon to christen the Coach Don Ault Athletic Field to open the Bison football game against Thiel College.

Ault, who joined the Bison as an assistant to hall of fame coach Bob Goin in 1969 and became head coach four years later, twice led the Bison to Presidents’ Athletic Conference championships. His 1980 squad became the first Bethany team to advance to the NCAA III playoffs, finishing the season unbeaten and united.

The $500,000 project was partly funded through matching donations by Psi Diamond Charitable Foundation of Beta Theta Pi, Panhandle Restoration and alumnus Scott Brooks ’78 partly funded the $500,000 turf project. The college is accepting donations in Ault’s memory.

During halftime festivities, 2020 queen Taylor Naples crowned Megan McDonald, of Uniontown, Pa., homecoming queen. Evan Wachter, of Hancock, Md., is king.

Katie Fuchs, Victoria Magnotti, Taylor Stinnett, Micki Webster, Edmund Aggrey, Andrew Smith, Tom Stewart, and Keyohn Thompson made up the 2021 homecoming court.

The king, queen, and their court are selected by student vote.

Homecoming photo gallery

Coach Don Ault Athletic Field dedication photo gallery

The Bison defeated Thiel 28-7. Earlier Saturday, the men’s soccer team defeated Waynesburg 3-2 in overtime, hand the women fell to Waynesburg 1-0.

Bethany moved its 2020 homecoming to a virtual experience because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the classes of 1970, 1971, 1980, 1981, 1990 and 1991 all celebrated their milestone reunions this weekend.

On Sunday, Bethany will host a Scroll Society breakfast at Oglebay Resort’s Wilson Lodge for the classes of 1970 and 1971, and all other alumni who have already celebrated their 50th reunions.

A graduate automatically becomes a Scroll Society member upon the 50th anniversary of his or her graduation from Bethany.

The Scroll Society can be traced to the 1960s when Maynard Patton, then-chairman of the Bethany Board of Trustees, invited several alumni of the 1910s and 1920s to a Commencement Day dinner at Wilson Lodge.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.