Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Friday, January 27, 2006

1972 Hillsdale Grad to Oversee Harrah's Gulf Coast Rebirth

Tom O'Donnell graduated from Hillsdale in 1972 and has recently been named President of Harrah's Entertainment's Gulf Coast Division. O'Donnell will oversee the re-building of the powerful gaming company's many properties in the Gulf Coast including Harrah's New Orleans.

Harrah's new Gulf Coast Region president Tom O'Donnell (right)

Harrah's names O'Donnell as president
January 27, 2006

GULF COAST — Harrah's Entertainment Inc. has named Tom O'Donnell as regional president of the Gulf Coast Region, effective upon receipt of required regulatory approvals. O'Donnell is currently serving as senior vice president and general manager of Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel in North Carolina.
His region will include Harrah's New Orleans Casino, scheduled to re-open in mid-February. O'Donnell will also oversee the company's redevelopment efforts on the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast.

O'Donnell succeeds John Payne, who was named regional president of Harrah's Atlantic City Region in November. He will be based in New Orleans.

"As we prepare to reopen our doors on the Gulf Coast, it is essential we have one of our most experienced and knowledgeable operators leading the effort," said Anthony Sanfilippo, president of Harrah's Central Division. "Tom is respected by colleagues and employees alike, and his leadership skills will prove invaluable as we work to restore the Gulf Coast Region as one of the most vibrant destinations in the Harrah's portfolio."

Full Story

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ross Named Olympic Alternate

1998 Hillsdale College graduate and former Charger football player Jason Ross was named an alternate to the United States olympic bobsled team yesterday. Ross has competed on the World Cup circuit for the past two season, primarily as a pusher in the 4 man events. As an alternate, Ross could replace any of the other pushers at any time, even during the games. Seven other pushers and two pilots were named to the US roster yesterday.

USA Bobsled announced, "The nine men nominated to the team are 2002 4-man Olympic Silver Medalist Todd Hays (Del Rio, TX), Pavle Jovanovic (Tom’s River, NJ), 2002 Olympian Steve Mesler (Buffalo, NY), Brock Kreitzburg (Akron, OH), Steve Holcomb (Park City, UT), 2002 4-man Olympic Silver Medalist Bill Schuffenhauer (Salt Lake City, UT), Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, NE), Lorenzo Smith III (Kankakee, IL) and 2002 4-man Olympic Silver Medalist Randy Jones (Atlanta, GA)."

Hays and Holcomb are the only drivers, while the rest are pushers. Ross has pushed for Holcomb's USA2 sled this winter and is a workout partner of Hays.

Congratulations to Jason Ross! This is still a great honor. Not wishing any ill will to the rest of Team USA, I still hope things will work out so we can get a chance to see an old Charger pushing for the Red, White, and Blue.

Despite being named as a replacement, Ross and the rest of the US National team are off to St. Moritz, Switzerland for another weekend of World Cup racing.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Ross's Olympic Fate To Be Known Soon

Former Hillsdale tailback Jason Ross, a 1999 graduate always dreamed of shining on Sundays in the National Football League. When those plans failed to materialize, Ross took his athletic ability to the United States Bobsled program and has emerged as one of the nation's top push athletes in the four-man event.

Ross has spent the past two seasons on the world cup series and could be weeks away from reaching the pinacle of the sport, a trip to the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy. The top 2 sleds in world cup standings will participate in the games. The #1 U.S. team piloted by Todd Hayes is already in. The second qualifier likely will be the sled finishing highest tomorrow on the German track in Koenigssee, Germany. USA2 piloted by Steve Holcomb has the edge over the sled driven by 2002 Bronze medalist Mike Kohn. Ross has pushed for both sleds this season.

The likely scenario will have both Holcomb and Kohn going to Torino with Kohn driving in the two-man event. Where Jason Ross might end up is still up in the air. Pushers can be changed at any time, even during the Olympics.

Jason Ross has to shine this Sunday. It won't be in an NFL playoff game, but a great performance on an icy Bavarian track could make him Hillsdale's first ever Olympian. will keep you updated on any developments. Follow Sunday's action from Germany here.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Hillsdale Grad Heckert New Philly GM

1991 graduate Tom Heckert played defensive back at Hillsdale and served as an assistant coach to the football program before joining the Miami Dolphins player personnel department. He had been the Eagles' Vice President of Player Personnel. Congrats to Tom!

Eagles promote Heckert to GM
Tuesday, January 03, 2006

PHILADELPHIA - Back in 2001, when Tom Modrak's name surfaced in rumors for other jobs, the Eagles fired him, citing it as a distraction.

This season, when Tom Heckert's name surfaced in the same sort of rumors, the Eagles gave him a new title and more money.

Heckert, coach Andy Reid's right-hand man on personnel decisions, was named the team's general manager yesterday, after his name surfaced as a candidate for the Minnesota Vikings' job.

"We're happy to keep someone of Tom's caliber in Philadelphia," Reid said. "Tom has done an excellent job and it was important for this organization to have him continue in this general manager role for the foreseeable future."

Heckert came to the Eagles in 2001 from Miami, where he spent 10 years in various scouting roles.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

News from Uganda: Hillsdale College to Begin Caning Students

Ahhhhh...isn't the Internet a great place! Of course you know everything you read is true on there.

Like for example, take a look at this littel gem out of Uganda. Yes, Uganda! The 18 year-old mayor story has made Michael Sessions and now Hillsdale known even deep into Africa.

On Monday, in its Entertainment sectionThe Daily Monitor of Kampala, Uganda reported that sure Sessions might be mayor of the town,

"But to his teachers at Hillsdale College where he goes to school, this will not make him different from the rest of his mates and he will still receive the stroke of the cane in case if he tries to be naughty." (full article)

I guess former Charger Tight End and now Dean of Men Aaron Petersen has gotten serious about discipline. Students have griped for generations that the administration is really cracking down. If the reports from the shores of Lake Victoria are true, it sounds like they're crackin' something else too.

I haven't made any phone calls to verify this story, but something tells me a few facts may have gotten lost in at least transition between here and Africa. But, the Monitor's motto is "Truth Everyday".

Monday, January 09, 2006

Keep Your Chargers Away from these Girls!

Let me preface this by saying that I have always been a big advocate of more interaction between the College and the townspeople of Hillsdale. It is a great community with some great people living in it. But, you still have to be careful with whom you mingle both on and off campus. Here are three girls all Charger parents should pray their sons never bring home to meet mom and dad, or do anything else with.

From The Jackson Citizen Patriot:

Three women charged with stealing from area farm

Monday, January 09, 2006
A preliminary exam is set for Wednesday for three Hillsdale County women, ages 19 to 21, who are charged with stealing money from a Cement City farm.

Lisa Bolenbaugh, 21, and Alisha Ritter, 18, both of Hillsdale; and Ashley Lick, 19, of Jerome face multiple felony counts related to a series of thefts at Flavor Fruits Farm, 11025 S. Jackson St.

The women, who were employees, are suspected of stealing an estimated $4,000 to $8,000 during an 18-month period, authorities said.

"The owner is still adding it up," said Detective Sgt. Lance Benzing, Hillsdale County Sheriff's Department.

In November, deputies were called to the farm after a safe containing $5,000 was stolen, Benzing said. Investigators haven't linked the women to the safe theft.

The three, who remain free on personal bond, have a probable cause hearing at 11:30 a.m. before District Judge Donald Sanderson.

Cactus Bowl Coverage A Disappointment

Well, I hope Keith Recker enjoyed his experience at the Division II all-star game Cactus Bowl this past week in Kingsville. What a great opportunity. Recker wound up as the East squad's starting tight-end but managed just 1 reception for minus 7 yards in the game. Congrats to Keith!

The coverage of the game was a big disappointment though. Anyone who tried to access the webcast on Friday night would agree. I would wait and wait for it to load and then manage about 5 seconds of video. Finally I gave up. That is too bad, because a lot of D2 fans across the country were looking forward to seeing the best of the division in action.

The President of the Cactus Bowl has asked for feedback on the webcast. You may email him at and share your sentiments.

Let's hope the next time a Charger earns this honor, we will all be able to see it!

Friday, January 06, 2006

Watch Keith Recker:Cactus Bowl Webcast Live

Sorry about the late notification!

Watch The 2006 Cactus Bowl and Hillsdale's Keith Recker in action tonight live on the Web.

Game time is 7:35 PM (EST)

A link to the webcast can be found on the front page of

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Recker Nets All American Honors

Hillsdale senior tight end Keith Recker is currently in Kingsville, TX preparing for Friday's Cactus Bowl, the Division II all-star football game, but post-season honors continue to roll in. Recently Recker was named to the Second team of the Associated Press Little All American team and was an honorable mention on's All American team.

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