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Dr. Fredrick Davis Shults

February 7, 1932 ~ June 8, 2020 (age 88)


Dr. Fredrick Davis Shults of Oberlin, Ohio died Monday June 8th at home surrounded by his loving family. He was 88 years old.

Born in Detroit in 1932 to Ward and Rebecca Shults. He was raised with his brother Robe in Alma, Michigan and served in the Navy as an ensign and lieutenant J.G.

Dr. Shults went to Oberlin College where he carried two majors in History and Physical Education. While a student at Oberlin he participated in basketball, baseball and earned All-American Athletic recognition in 1954 for soccer. He was captain of both the soccer and baseball teams and also handball champion. His collegiate soccer teams never lost a game.

He went on to earn a M.A in 1959 from The Ohio State University before completing his Doctorate of Physical Education in 1967 from Indiana University writing an outstanding dissertation on “The History and Philosophy of Athletics at Oberlin College”. His dissertation and extensive writing on “The Competitive Ethic” helped set the benchmark for ethics in sport, student rights and the essential connection between academic and athletic pursuits that is foundational to the current holistic approach to wellness.

During his early career at Oberlin he helped launch and ran the student intermural program, Saturday morning sports program for kids and extensive squash program for the college and extended city community.

During 31 seasons as the Oberlin College Men’s Soccer coach he complied a win loss record of 200-135-49, making him the “winningest” soccer coach in the college’s history – more than any other coaching wins in a single sport at Oberlin College. Coach Shults’s team won the Conference Championship. He was named the North Coast Athletic Conference Men’s soccer Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1988. As head coach of the men’s lacrosse team he earned an overall record of 93–79- 5. The Robert Kahn Track and Fred Shults Field is name in his honor.

Dr. Shults was a pioneer in the field of Ethics and Culture in Sport, developing the nation’s first Sports Sociology class at Oberlin, where he was an early member of Oberlin’s Heisman Club Hall of Fame. He was

working on a book with Lee Drickamer (of Oberlin) on the History and Importance of Athletics at Oberlin College at the time of his death.

Fred was a life long athlete wining multiple state championship in squash and city champions in golf. He consistently shot his age in golf throughout his 70s and 80s.

Fred, (as he was known to all) was beloved by his players, students, friends and family. He is survived by his daughter Dr. Jennifer M. Shults, DC, grandson Devon Fairchild Shults of Oberlin and son Jeffrey Fairchild Shults of San Francisco, California.

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