When Andy Losik started ChargerBlue.com in 1998, he had to code the website by hand, line-by-line. Since then, the website has tallied more than half a million hits, as Losik spent 10 – 15 hours every week updating the unofficial internet home of Charger football.
Now, after 20 seasons of game previews, recaps, recruiting updates, and more, Losik, a 1995 Hillsdale graduate and Charger football alumnus, plans to retire Charger Blue at the end of the 2017 season.
“This has just been my way to give back and say thanks to Hillsdale for all that I got,” Losik said. “My days at Hillsdale are so invaluable to me, and the site was just my way to keep giving back and keep promoting the program.”
According to head football coach Keith Otterbein, Charger Blue has become an integral part of the program over the past 20 years.
“Andy has done a phenomenal job with Charger Blue for a very long time,” Otterbein said in an email. “The website has become a part of our rich football tradition and will be greatly missed by our loyal fans.”
For Losik, Charger Blue has been a labor of love, as he wrote or curated all of the content that went on the site. He said the decision to lay the site to rest wasn’t an easy one, but he bids farewell to his beloved site on the best possible terms.
“Twenty is a real nice, round number,” he said. “I’ve done this for a long time, and my daughter is 15 years old, and a lot goes into parenting, and watching her play her own sports and show her horse.”
Losik started Charger Blue at a time when Charger Football information was not easily accessible on the internet, as the website predates sites like D2Football.com and The Collegian online. He said he feels that with the addition of these types of resources, and the quality coverage done on the official Hillsdale athletics website, it’s a proper time to make an exit.
“Charger fans are in good hands,” he said. “Hopefully over the years I’ve helped show you where to go and get your information, and you should be just fine.”
Although there is far more information available then when Losik started, his contribution and passion will be missed, according to Andy Brown, the voice of the Chargers on WCSR and host of Time Out with Andy Brown.
“Andy’s site has been a unique fixture for Chargers fans for all these years,” he said. “From the time I started calling the games, he has helped get my radio content out there and has been a major part of our Charger preview shows. His enthusiasm and feel for the program makes his contribution special.”
Similar to others that have stepped away from large commitments to Charger football — such as Jim Eckhardt, who retired from calling games on WCSR in 2015 — Losik plans to remain as avid a fan as ever.
“I feel like I’ve made a contribution, and it’s just time to just be a fan on Saturday afternoons, instead of having to live tweet out every touchdown, interception, and kick return. I can just go and enjoy it,” he said. “I appreciate the fact that so many people over the years have made Charger Blue part of their Saturday, but it’s time for me to have some time to just enjoy it without the demands and the deadlines.”
Losik, a teacher in the Hamilton Community School District, said he often found himself waking up early before school or before his wife and daughter woke up to work on the site. The benefits, however, far outweighed the work, according to Losik.
“The feedback is the biggest reward of it,” he said. “It’s always been neat to get different emails and different perspectives of people that have seen it.”
In addition to providing game previews and recaps, updating recruiting information, and keeping tabs on Charger Alums in the NFL, Losik used the site to promote Charger alumni events, the Gridiron Club, and fundraising efforts.
“We had a couple of situations where members of the Charger family were facing some hard times, and we we’re able to raise some significant amounts of money through the site, just by bringing people together and making them aware of the situation,” Losik said.
Losik said he’s thankful the college and the athletic department allowed him so much freedom with the project.
“Hillsdale as a whole has allowed me to do this,” he said. “There are a lot of schools out there, even Division II schools, that are really strict about access and what is being said, and use of logos and publication, but Hillsdale has been tremendously supportive.”
The project started as a simple website with links to any available information about Charger football, but it grew into much more.
“It started off as a little fun project,” Losik said. “Then it became a really huge part of my life.”
Now, 20 years later, anyone connected to Charger football understands Losik’s contribution.
“Thank you will never be enough to let Andy know how much his hard work and dedication means to Charger Football,” Otterbein said.