Peter Jeremy Strubhar g74
Peter Strubhar '74 came to Fort Wayne Bible College (FWBC) after winning the prestigious Sertoma Award during his senior year at South Side High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This triple honor was for his athletic accomplishments (in basketball, cross country, and track & field), academic achievements, and good citizenship. Few people would have guessed that he would soon set a plethora of college, city, and conference scoring records.
Peter grew up playing basketball in various cities, as his father, Robert C. Strubhar ('36), moved from one school and ministry setting to another, until Peter's freshman year when his father joined the faculty at FWBC. When Peter enrolled as a Pastoral Ministry major at FWBC in the fall of 1970, it seemed natural to study in the same department that his father chaired.
While in high school, Peter was tempted to quit basketball, but his father counseled patience and perseverance, suggesting he might yet experience a "resurrection." When he joined a revitalized Falcon squad known for its determined defense, rabid rebounding, patient offense, balanced scoring, and selfless play, Peter quickly bought into the team philosophy. Nevertheless, fellow team members soon realized they had an unusually gifted scorer, leading to the affectionate nickname, "Pistol Pete."
In some ways, Peter's freshman year was his best, at least in terms of scoring. Opposing teams, who initially focused on stopping Bruce Masopust (Bob Kirby rejoined the team second semester), were not prepared for the freshman's barrage of deadly shots from well beyond the arc. Nor did they anticipate his tireless cuts, and unique fast break penetrations.
Though Peter was not a jumper, he more than held his own in the paint. He was all hips and elbows as he would clear space for a rebound and then score the put-back. While Bob and Bruce would together pull down over 30 rebounds a game, Peter gathered another 7.9 a game from his guard position.
One cold winter's night, on February 2, 1971, at the old Lafayette Center Gym against a hapless Great Lakes Bible College, Peter went 20 for 30 from the field and 11 for 13 from the free throw line for both a school and a Fort Wayne city collegiate record of 51 points. By the time his first year was over, Peter had racked up a school single season record of 619 points for a 22.9 per game scoring average. All this occurred on a team with a deliberate, balanced attack, and the lowest scoring starter, point guard Doug Frost, still averaged 12 points a game.
During that season (1970-1971), the Falcons made an undefeated Thanksgiving tour through the upper Midwest, had captured the North Central Christian Athletic Conference (NCCAC) regular season and tournament championships, upset highly favored Bethel College to take the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) District 3 championship, stunned rivals with a ten game winning streak, and moved on to the NCCAA National Tournament in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where they fought perennial champion Azusa Pacific down to the wire. The team finished, setting a school record of 19-8.
Peter garnered first team Fort Wayne News Sentinel All-City, NCCAC All-Conference, and NCCAC All-Tourney honors, as well as being named to Outstanding College Athletes of America. It was a fantastic start to a great career.
Peter continued scoring during his sophomore season (1971-1972), but opposing defenses would never again give him the looks he had enjoyed the first time around. The second year he again led the team with 427 points, or 16.4 per game.
The Falcons led the entire nation (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, some 700 schools at that time) in defense (59.7 points per game) and rebounding (64.2%) while carving out another win-lost record (21-5), but fell just short of NCCAC regular season, NCCAC tournament, and NCCAA district titles. During one stretch from January 1971 into February 1972, the team went an amazing 26-3, that is, until they unexpectedly lost their irreplaceable point guard, Doug Frost.
Peter was named to the Falcon Invitational All-Tourney team, the NCCAC All-Conference team, and the News Sentinel All-City second team.
In his junior year (1972-1973), Peter and senior Bob Kirby welcomed an infusion of fresh talent, with remarkable new players such as Todd Habegger, Larry Lewis, and Bob Batson, as well as a much improved Bill Campbell. These new offensive threats helped diffuse the defensive pressure formerly focused on Peter, and he would raise his scoring back up to 19.1 points per game, for a team-leading season total of 554.
The Falcons won the Bethel Invitational (now Gates Automotive Classic), the Falcon Invitational, the NCCAC regular season, and the NCCAC tournament championships before finally falling to Grace College in the NCCAA District 3 championship game, ending a record fourteen game winning streak to finish 23-6.
Pete made the Bethel Invitational and the Manchester Invitational All-Tourney teams, was named the MVP of the Falcon Invitational, was a unanimous pick for the News Sentinel All-City Squad, and landed on the NCCAC All-Conference second team. Both Pete and Todd toured Ghana, Kenya, and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) that summer with a Sports Ambassadors/Venture for Victory college all-star team.
His final year (1973-1974), Peter scored another 528 points (17.6 average, just behind Todd Habegger) for a school career record of 2,128. This figure is all the more remarkable since so many of Peter's baskets came from long-range, well before the days of the three-point shot. They also came in a deliberate offense before the advent of the shot clock. Peter would finish with numerous records for game, season, and career scoring. From his guard position, he managed to pull down 665 career rebounds.
The Falcons pressed forward to a 20-10 record; and, after some early struggles and a mid-season slump, won their final eight conference games to capture the NCCAC regular season championship, though the NCCAC and NCCAA District 3 tournament titles ultimately eluded them. The team also won the NCCAC Sportsmanship Award. Peter made the All-Tourney team in the Fort Wayne City College Tournament.
Peter's collegiate career had proven to be an amazing resurrection, fulfilling his father's hopeful prediction.
After graduation from FWBC, Peter married his college sweetheart, Ronda Dickerhoof (FWBC fs73). They have three daughters: Kimberly, Bethany, and Valerie.
Today, Peter is an Associate Pastor at Christ's Church of the Valley, with a current attendance of over 12,000. There he recently led a $22,000,000 campaign for new children's and youth buildings.
Peter looks back with enduring gratitude to his late father, Robert, who became his major professor at FWBC and his lifetime mentor.