Andre Holmes ’11 (center), a Delta Sigma Phi while at Hillsdale, poses with past and current members of the fra­ternity at his induction cer­emony. (Photo: Scott McClallen | Col­legian)

Hillsdale College inducted three former ath­letes —Ashlee Crowder ’13, Amanda Putt Eccleston ’12, and Andre Holmes ’11 — and the 1969 football team into the Hall of Fame at the Searle Center on Sat­urday.

The Ath­letic Hall of Fame Com­mittee chose the members of its 20th class for their con­tri­bu­tions to all aspects of the Hillsdale College ath­letic department while at Hillsdale and beyond.

“Our student-ath­letes past and present exhibit immense effort, dis­ci­pline, and integrity, and it’s an honor to rec­ognize their out­standing achieve­ments,” Hillsdale College Ath­letic Director Don Brubacher said in a press release. “We’re proud of the excel­lence Amanda, Andre, and Ashlee have achieved both in the Chargers uniform and after leaving Hillsdale’s campus.”

Crowder helped lead the Chargers to GLIAC vol­leyball cham­pi­onships in 2009, 2010, and 2011 when the team won the school’s first NCAA Division II regional cham­pi­onship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Final Four.

A three-time All-American athlete, Crowder holds the record for all-time kills for Charger vol­leyball at 1,703 and holds two GLIAC Player of the Year awards as well as a 2010 Midwest Region Player of the Year award.

Crowder cur­rently works as a coach with the Uni­versity of Indi­anapolis women’s vol­leyball team.

Eccleston won three national NCAA Division II titles, securing first place in the mile and 800-meter at the 2012 NCAA Division II Indoor Track Cham­pi­onships and first in the 1500-meter at the 2012 NCAA Division II Outdoor Track Cham­pi­onships. Eccleston, the 2012 NCAA Division II Women’s Track Athlete of the Year, missed missing qual­i­fi­cation for the U.S. Olympic team in 2016 by 0.03 seconds in the 1500-meter run but is training for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Eccleston said she was honored to train next to Hillsdale ath­letes.

“It’s a huge honor,” Eccleston said. “I’ve really enjoyed my four years here being an athlete and seeing all these phe­nomenal ath­letes ahead of me, and it was some­thing I def­i­nitely strived for but wasn’t sure if it would ever be attainable. So it’s a huge honor and I’m very appre­ciative to the College for rec­og­nizing my achieve­ments.”

In 1968 the Hillsdale College Board of Trustees voted to adopt the “Charger” nickname to its ath­letic program. The ‘69 football team, coached by Frank “Muddy” Waters, embraced the nickname as they demol­ished their way to an 8 – 1 regular season record, qual­i­fying for the NAIA national playoffs for the second time in school history.

The Chargers led the nation in scoring with an average of 33.1 points per game. The team outscored their oppo­nents by a total of 145 – 8 its the final three regular-season games.

But the Chargers didn’t stop there.

Chester Marcol, who holds the record for the longest field goal at Hillsdale, was drafted 34th to the Green Bay Packers. He played for the Packers from 1972 – 1980 and was named Rookie of the Year in 1972. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1987.

Archie Robinson played for the Miami Dol­phins when the Dol­phins went 14 – 0 and won Super Bowl VIII.

Dick Kraatz was the NAIA’s leading scorer for the 1969 season.

Holmes helped lead the 2009 and 2010 Chargers teams to NCAA regional playoff appear­ances and set the school record for receiving yardage and single-game reception record with 16 catches in the 2010 NCAA regional playoffs.

Holmes racked up 181 catches for 2,444 yards, scoring 17 touch­downs during his junior and senior years. After Hillsdale, Holmes led the Oakland Raiders in receiving yards in 2014. Holmes just com­pleted his sixth NFL season with the Buffalo Bills and has played in 76 NFL games with 115 recep­tions for 1,582 yards and 15 touch­downs.

“It feels amazing [being inducted into the Hall of Fame],” Holmes said. “Just like in the video when I was talking about seeing all the people in the Hall of Fame on a daily basis walking through the hallways to go to the locker room. It means so much. I couldn’t have ever dreamt to make the Hall of Fame when I first got here and even when I left. It’s pretty crazy.”

In 2017 Holmes gave back to Hillsdale and bought new jerseys and helmets for the team’s senior day.

“Coach Otterbein came to me with the idea,” Holmes said. “I know that is such a huge recruiting tool and I know it’s very important for college teams to have those types of things. I know that when I was playing, dif­ferent teams would have crazy helmets and I always wished I could do the same thing.”

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    Well done ladies and gen­tlemen. Very well done.