As current Charger teams pour hours of time and gallons of sweat into prac­tices and com­pe­ti­tions with hopes of achieving greatness, past Charger legends hang on the walls just outside the gym moti­vating the current ath­letes to leave a lasting legacy at their Alma Mater and join their ranks.

These legends are members of the Hillsdale College Ath­letic Hall of Fame. Their plaques and pic­tures adorn the first level of the George Roche sports complex, giving vis­itors a glimpse into the tra­dition of Hillsdale sports.

“Anybody who walks by those plaques has to be a little inter­ested in who’s there and why they’re there,” said broad­casting pro­fessor and Hall-of-Famer Parke Hayes ‘67. “I think it’s just important for a school with as great a history as Hillsdale’s that it would have the [Hall of Fame]. It’s important to rec­ognize the people who have given a lot of effort over the years.”

Who are the faces etched in the walls of the complex, and what is their sig­nif­i­cance? To put it in per­spective, only 60 indi­viduals and teams over the course of a 168-year have had the honor of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame began rec­og­nizing Hillsdale ath­letics in a variety of posi­tions; student-athlete, coach, ath­letic admin­is­trator, teams, or mer­i­to­rious service-provider- in 1997.

In approx­i­mately two weeks, four Hillsdale teams or indi­viduals will join the most elite group in Charger ath­letics after suc­cess­fully passing through an official nom­i­nation and selection process. Their actual induction cer­emony will occur at a banquet on campus in the spring.

Claudette Charney, assistant ath­letic director and head women’s bas­ketball coach, serves as chair of the Ath­letic Hall of Fame Com­mittee. The board con­sists of faculty, ath­letic admin­is­trators, com­munity members, and others, who receive written rec­om­men­da­tions from faculty, friends, staff, or alumni of the College, and present their nom­i­na­tions to the President’s Office for final approval.

There are spe­cific qual­i­fi­ca­tions for each cat­egory of eli­gible recipient, such as teams must have won a con­ference title. Receiving All-American status doesn’t even guar­antee a spot in the Hall, although all

All-American and All-American Aca­demic award recip­ients are pic­tured in the sports complex basement.

Sports Infor­mation Director Brad Monas­tiere, along with his­torian Linda Moore, research the nom­inees. Monas­tiere writes their bio­graphical infor­mation for the dis­plays.

Hayes, a member of the Hall of Fame com­mittee, has had the oppor­tunity to learn a lot about various inductees over the years as well. This is because he worked at the radio station WCSR, which broad­casts college games, for over 33 years before retiring. Even to this day, Hayes teaches the broad­casting class at the college and appears on the radio station fre­quently.

“I’m a lifer and I’ve lived in Hillsdale all my life and I’ve been a Charger fan all my life, even when they were the Dales,” Hayes said. “I have more than just a passing interest in local sports. I’ve announced a lot of the games involving a lot of the people who have played for the Chargers.”

Hayes said he has lots of mem­ories of Charger ath­letics. He said he remembers most vividly some of the football playoff games, and the 1981 men’s bas­ketball team which made it to the semi­finals of the NIAI national tour­nament. He also remembers when the college hosted the 1985 national tour­nament for track, which Hayes said was a “big deal.”

While many ath­letes, coaches, and admin­is­trators may take for granted the excel­lence that each plaque on the wall rep­re­sents, those members have set the standard for all other ath­letes to follow, and their example is a cor­ner­stone in the com­munity, Hayes said.

“When I was a kid in Hillsdale I was made aware of the college and its ath­letic pro­grams and some of the people involved and I had chance to meet some of these people, and that was great stuff,” Hayes recalled. “Here I am, a little nine or ten-year-old kid, playing little league football and I got the chance to play on the college field. … We were grade school kids who were in the big time. That’s always been an important part of the com­munity- the college and the ath­letic program.”