Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Recruiting: Drelles, Two Others Headed to Hillsdale

From the Traverse City Record Eagle


Drelles, two others headed to Hillsdale


HILLSDALE — Traverse City Central standout Derek Drelles is among three local players to sign to play football with Hillsdale College.

In addition to the Trojans' 6-foot-3, 315-pound left tackle, the Chargers also signed Cadillac tight end/linebacker Bill Kanitz (6-3, 200) and Manistee Catholic Central quarterback/linebacker Braden Russell (6-0, 170) among its 38 signees.

Kanitz was a Record-Eagle Dream Team selection with 89 tackles and three interceptions.

Hillsdale will open the 2006 season on Sept. 2 at Gannon University.

Former Hillsdale Assistant Enters U Delaware HOF

Kevin Noonan
May 18, 2006
Delaware Online

Wisniewski Honored to be part of UD's Family

WILMINGTON -- They didn't expect to stay so long and they never dreamed they'd have the impact they did. They had no idea that one day they would become legends who would be elected to halls of fame and even have things named after them.

"We came to do a job,'' Irv Wisniewski said, "and we found a home and a family. It was a special time.''

That time was the 1950s and 1960s, when Wisniewski and other young coaches came to the University of Delaware and made their marks on the school and the thousands of student-athletes they coached over the decades.

Wisniewski was there for 24 years as head coach in basketball and golf and as an assistant in football.

That dedication was rewarded Wednesday night, when he was inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame.

"It was real close-knit back then,'' Wisniewski said. "Everyone came from different places and different backgrounds, but everybody got along. Dave Nelson formed us into a family.''

Nelson, who died in 1991, was Delaware's head football coach and athletic director back then, and he was the one who lured Wisniewski to the First State. In 1952, the former Michigan football star was coaching at tiny Hillsdale College when Nelson offered him a job in Newark.

Full Story

Charger Football Dominates IM BBall Scene

I have mentioned both here and on the podcast that the Hillsdale Collegian editorial staff wrote a piece suggesting that varsity athletes, namely football players, should form their own intramural basketball league. Simply put, it wasn't any fun getting beat by superior athletes.

Although I don't agree with the idea, I can see a bit of why they might be wishing this.

The champioship game featured a team of primarily upper classmen football players versus a team of freshmen football players. Several other football players played on other teams and were named to the all IM team.

Derek Nelson described his team's big win this way, "Jared Kell went 1-2 on free throws, but got the rebound
tipped out to him and hit a three to give us the lead for good with
about a minute to go. It was pretty exciting."

The Champs: From Left to Right in the picture ... First Row...Mike Pavelich TE #89,
Brett Neller RB #23, Jared Kell FS #7, Darl Bauer LB #9, Greg Dixon HB
#8, Second Row...Joe Dunham (non-athlete), Tim Wells (non-athlete),
Derek Nelson WR #2, Mark Scott LB #30

Saturday, May 13, 2006

UIF::Dougherty Joins Freedom, Musielewicz article

When Ike Dougherty suits up for the Ft. Wayne Freedom, he will be the 5th member of the organization with Charger football ties. Head Coach Dan Pfifer was an assistant at HC while receivers Keith Recker, Dan Musielewicz, and QB Bill Skelton all are former Chargers.

Slumping Freedom banged up
By Stacy Clardie
The Journal Gazette

May 7, 2006

Dan Musielewicz doesn’t particularly think Keanu Reeves is a great actor, but he recalled some of Reeves’ words to describe Fort Wayne’s recent 65-32 blowout at Lexington last week.

“In ‘The Replacements,’ Keanu Reeves talks about quicksand and how you get in it and you struggle and you do as much as you can and all you do is keep sinking further,” Musielewicz said. “That’s pretty much what happened. Early in the game, we did some bad things and a few things went wrong in the second half and pretty soon it was out of control.

“You didn’t know what happened. You didn’t know what was going on. Not good.”

The Freedom seemed to respond in practice this week with a pair of the most physical practices the team has had this season.

Coach Dan Pifer has been pleading for the group to exert energy and enthusiasm consistently – “since Week 2,” he said – and he was happy with the effort delivered Wednesday and Thursday.

Musielewicz called the atmosphere more businesslike.

“It’s now or never. Buckle up and start playing,” said Musielewicz, whose team has lost three consecutive games and plays at defending United Indoor Football champion Sioux Falls (6-0) tonight. “You might be playing football for fun, but it’s your job. It’s my job. It’s the coaches’ jobs. There’s no more screwing around.”

Certainly he hopes that translates into a victory, but Fort Wayne (3-3) will need more than just added emotion.

Three offensive starters will miss the game because of injury. Included in that group is starting running back Rocky Harvey, who will miss his second consecutive game with a high ankle sprain.

The offense runs through Harvey, so perhaps it wasn’t that big of a surprise when that unit managed little production without him last week at Lexington.

But the Freedom will have to adjust to playing without more than just Harvey tonight.

Receiver Luther Stroder was the primary running back without Harvey in the lineup last week, but Stroder injured his knee against the Horsemen and didn’t make the trip to Sioux Falls.

Pifer was all set to have newcomer Joe Johnson as the lone running back but found out Thursday that Johnson wouldn’t be available because of work commitments.

That means, by default, receiver Adrian Reese will get the bulk of the work at running back. And with that switch, there goes quarterback Bill Skelton’s favorite target.

Reese has team-highs with 36 catches, 367 yards and nine touchdowns. Musielewicz’s 16 catches, 170 yards and four TDs are the next best.

That means the plan Reese and Musielewicz discussed after practice Wednesday may have to be altered.

“Adrian and I had a few words and said, ‘Put it on my shoulders,’ ” Musielewicz said. “That’s what I want. But whatever it takes. Whether it’s this week, next week or the whole season, put it on our shoulders. We’ll start carrying them.”

In order for receivers to be productive, though, the offensive line must give Skelton time to throw, and Skelton must make the right reads. Skelton had the worst game of his career last week, completing only one more pass (five) than interceptions thrown (four). He’ll also have a new offensive lineman in front of him this week: Hillsdale product Ike Dougherty will fill in for injured Jamarkus Gorman at right guard.

Without Harvey and the rest of the injured starters, Pifer said he has opted to do “goofy” stuff on offense. He’s been pleased with the production out of the base offense, but he’s using this Harvey-less time to develop plays off that offense.

“We’re going to have to rely a lot on our defense,” Pifer said. “If our defense plays better than they did the first time here (in a 47-44 overtime loss April 15), we’ve got a chance to win.”

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Splitting D2: Bad Things Man! Bad Things!

EDITOR'S NOTE: I had incorrectly reported earlier that this would take a 2/3 convention vote. That is incorrect and 51% will carry this. Thanks to Brandon Meisner at who helped me wade through the last report from the NCAA.

Big Smoke Coming Down...Maybe. Huge changes could be coming to NCAA division II football and frankly they look mighty scary. The NCAA is proposing to split D2 into two "championship brackets". It is all based on the number of scholarships each bracket could award. One could offer up to 36 while the other could offer up to 18. Not only does what this would do in terms of watering down the division scare me, but what Hillsdale College might do as well.

If this thing goes through, it would not take effect until the 2009 season but bottom line is that it is a bad idea. Anytime something splits, it gets watered down. Remember back in elementary school when the football games would get too rough on the playground, so the teachers would make fifth graders play on one field and the sixth graders play on another field? Those new smaller games never regained the grinding intensity of the big free-for-all. Maybe a better example is when my elementary school restructured (read sissy-fied) field day with a bunch of different competitions hoping to give other less athletic kids a shot at a ribbon. For some reason the tetherball championship as the only boy in the competition wasn't as satisfying as winning the 600 yard run against the whole school. The same could be coming to D2 football.

How did we get here? If you follow this division closely, you know that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference have been pushing for years to lower the maximum number of scholarships to 24 at this level. Those ideas have been continually rebuffed by the membership and this new approach was offered up as a sort of compromise by a special committee within the NCAA.

Money Talks There has been quite the spirited debate taking place over at the Message Board regarding the proposed change and I have been an outspoken critic of them since this thing first surfaced. All of a sudden college administrators nationwide, many who don't know a jock strap from a chin strap (not ours of course) will have the opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in one fell swoop. The economic factor is what scares me the most about the future of Hillsdale College football.

What Will Kovalchik Do?It is no secret that money is tight right now in the Hillsdale College athletic department and over his track record athletic director Mike Kovalchik has been a notorious cost cutter. Heck, he and the Hillsdale administration cut Dave Dye's academic advising job in a "restructuring" move. So, the question has to be at least considered. Would Hillsdale opt to award only 1/2 of its current scholarships to play in the bottom tier of Division II? Would Hillsdale deny a significant number of young men the chance to play for one of the historical small college football programs? This remains to be seen. I am hoping the Hillsdale tradition I know of rising to meet a challenge will weigh heavily on this decision.

League Breaker According to the NCAA, entire conferences will have to decide with which division they will affiliate themselves. But, schools do have the option of playing in an opposite tier as an independent or as an associate football-only member of another league. Now the question looms. What will the GLIAC do? The smaller and private GLIAC schools may, I say, "may" be tempted to break away and play down. I seriously doubt that this would dissolve the GLIAC as a football conference...again, but sweeping changes could occur as to who is playing who.

I've Gotta Calm Down Over the past couple of day though I have shamefully realized that I have been doing what my man Tony Femino calls "mouth breathing" on his foreign affairs Voice to America Talk Show. (Memo to HC: Get TF to a CCA. He is great). We're all in a huff about something that might never happen. D2 might split. Get the plastic wrap and the duck tape and turn on Fox news to see if we are up to orange or purple or red threat levels.

What happens next? “The task force’s charge was to give the membership some options that would provide championship opportunities for schools that can’t afford to fund 36 equivalencies,” said task force Chair Jerry McGee, president of Wingate University. “But it’s important to understand that this is not a done deal. We know that many people believe that Division II football is fine as it is, and they will have an opportunity to vote to that effect in January.” (NCAA News)

There you go. Options are on the table. The PSAC and RMAC's reduction in scholarships attempts have been thwarted twice. Here is a new idea. Let's see what the rest of the people who are also part of D2 think what is best for the division.

So there. That is the big topic in D2 football circles. The more I think about this thing, the more I think of it as an asteroid floating around out there that might hit Earth. It could happen and that possibility is scary, but the likeliness is still a long way least January.

Oh yeah, the NCAA wants also to change regions...again. Wait until I show you what the new map might look like.

Please leave your comments below and let me know what YOU think.

NCAA News: Division II Group Recommends Two Football Championships

Division II group recommends two football championships

May 05, 2006

The NCAA News:

HOUSTON — The Division II Football Task Force has forwarded a proposal to the Division II Management Council to enhance competitive equity in football by creating two championships — a 16-team bracket for higher-funded programs offering up to 36 financial aid equivalencies and an eight-team bracket for programs offering 18 equivalencies or less.

The task force, which met May 3-4, also proposed that a two-thirds majority be required to modify financial aid equivalencies in any Division II sport. Currently, such changes require only a simple majority.

Those proposals form the core of the task force’s response to the charge of the 2005 Convention to provide options to enhance competitive equity in Division II postseason football.

The creation of an additional football championship has been a topic of discussion since the 2005 Convention, when the Pennsylvania State and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conferences proposed legislation to lower Division II football equivalencies from 36 to 24.

After an early plan to “decouple” football from divisional classification was rebuffed by Division I-AA, the Division II Football Task Force focused on an alternate plan to create two playoff brackets within Division II.

“I know there’s a tendency for people look at this proposal and say that it’s Division II’s version of Division I-A and I-AA,” said Division II Vice President Mike Racy. “But everybody needs to understand that this proposal pertains only to the football championship. That’s very different from Division I, where the entire governance structure is hinged on football classification.”

Under the proposal, which would require Convention approval, the limit for the smaller bracket would be 50 percent of the equivalency limit for the higher-funded bracket. Institutions would be able to “play up” to the larger bracket even if they provided fewer than 18 equivalencies. If approved, the new approach would take effect for the 2009 season, with conferences required to declare their level of competition by September 1, 2008. Those commitments would be binding for three years.

Institutions that chose to compete at a different level than their conference would be able to compete as independents in football or to affiliate in football with another conference awarding a like number of equivalencies. The number of teams participating in the Division II football playoffs would remain at 24.

“The task force’s charge was to give the membership some options that would provide championship opportunities for schools that can’t afford to fund 36 equivalencies,” said task force Chair Jerry McGee, president of Wingate University. “But it’s important to understand that this is not a done deal. We know that many people believe that Division II football is fine as it is, and they will have an opportunity to vote to that effect in January.”

While the bracket proposal will be an interesting choice for the division, so also will the concept to require a two-thirds majority to modify equivalency allocations in any sport.

The NCAA constitution ( provides for “division dominant” provisions that are sufficiently important to the division that they require a two-thirds majority.
Such an approach is unusual, however, and the prospect of the legislation was received coolly by PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray.

“That almost strikes me like the leadership of Division II using a nuclear weapon,” said Murray, who was otherwise complimentary of the task force’s work. “I’m really disappointed that’s been thrown out on the table. The only things I know of that require two-thirds votes are impeachment of the president and treaties with other countries....

“I’ve been in office for 12 or 13 years now, and there have been two votes on scholarships for football in that time. And now we’re worried about a two-thirds vote to put an end to it? Wow.”

But McGee said that the proposal is designed to achieve the will of the Division II Presidents Council — which is to resolve an ongoing membership issue once and for all.

“The Presidents Council directed this task force to make a recommendation for new aid limits in the event that the membership does not support the two-bracket proposal,” he said. “I know that one of our breakout groups tried hard to come up with an appropriate number to recommend, but the people in the room couldn’t reach a consensus.

“In my mind, this proposal to require a two-thirds majority serves the same purpose because it will probably force somebody to propose new aid limits now because of an understanding that the two-thirds requirement might pass.”
The PSAC may be willing to fill that role.

“We might do that (make a new aid limit proposal) for them just to give them an option,” Murray said. “That’s reasonable. I think that number will likely be somewhere above 30.”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Former President Roche Passes Away

Hillsdale College Release:

Hillsdale College is sorry to announce the passing of its 11th president, George Charles Roche III.

President Roche died Friday evening, May 5, in Lexington, Kentucky, where he was being treated for a stomach virus and complications that had troubled him for several months.

Born in 1935 in Colorado, President Roche was a graduate of Regis College and the University of Colorado, from which he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in history. He is the author of nine books.

President Roche was appointed the 11th president of Hillsdale College in 1971. He served in that office for 28 years until November 1999. Under his leadership, the college continued and extended its policy of refusing all forms of federal government support. In 1977, efforts were made by the Department of Health Education and Welfare to subject all colleges whose students received any form of federal-aid to the full range of federal regulations. This included even those colleges that refused every form of direct aid.

Hillsdale College refused to agree. In 1984, it lost its case before the Supreme Court and faced the prospect of the loans of all its students and graduates being recalled. Rather than submit, the college organized a private loan fund on the guarantee of its own credit and began to supply privately-based financial aid to replace the federal support.

Under the leadership of President Roche, the core curriculum of the college was expanded, its devotion to the traditional liberal arts curriculum increased, and its commitment to free market economics deepened.

The college's national speech digest, Imprimis, was launched early in the presidency of President Roche. Its national leadership seminars and its on campus conferences were expanded under the titles Shavano Institute for National Leadership and the Center for Constructive Alternatives. The college’s national reputation and academic standards increased significantly during this time, and its physical facilities were improved extensively. Its largest building, the George C. Roche Sports Complex, and several other major buildings were completed during his presidency.

In a tribute to President Roche written for a gathering in his honor last November, Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn spoke of the moment when the federal department of Health Education and Welfare threatened to call in all the loans of the college if it did not submit:

“Having worked here for a while myself, I have some ability to measure the difficulty of that moment 29 years ago. It would take a strong-willed man to see the college through a moment like that. It would take shrewdness, and it would take fortitude.

“It was important for the College that those qualities were present in its leadership at that moment. Those of us who must now carry on are grateful that it was here.”

President Roche is survived by his wife Dean, and former wife June; children George IV, Muriel (Jeremy) Peters, Maggie (Chad) Murphy, and Jacob; sister Peggy Brockway; grandchildren George V, and Patrick, George and Mary Kate Murphy.

The achievements of President Roche are remembered with respect on the campus. The college extends its deepest condolences to his family and many friends.

Monday, May 08, 2006

7 Mini Helmets Left

I have 7 Charger Mini Helmets left. The price remains at $25 and includes shipping. Send checks to:

Andy Losik
2494 55th St.
Fennville, MI 49408

Indicate the number needed.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Chargers Host Kids Camp

Held April 23 at Muddy Waters Stadium, the camp gave players and coaches the chance to work with young kids, teaching them the basics of football like throwing, running, blocking and tackling. Fortunately, no Hillsdale College players were injured while being tackled by one of the six-year-olds in attendance. All photos were taken by Jill Shreffler can be viewed here.

Photos and release courtesy of Hillsdale College.

Rich McGowan Joins HDN

I had the opportunity to watch Sunday's scrimmage with Hillsdale Daily News' new sports editor Rich McGowan. Rich comes to the paper after covering sports for the Holland Sentinel and most recently the Grand Rapids Press. He brings a strong knowledge of Division II football having followed some team in West Michigan that won a couple of national championship recently....Great Valley State or something like that.

Rich debuted his first Charger story this week, discussing Aaron Scholl's position move. Check it out here:
Charger Quarterback Moves to Receiver

Monday, May 01, 2006

Chargers Cap Spring Practice

Despite a nagging drizzle, Sunday was a great day for football at Frank "Muddy" Waters Field in Hillsdale. The Chargers capped their spring drills with the annual Blue White Scrimmage followed by a cook-out that quickly moved indoors.

Observations from Sunday

As is usually true with Spring practice, the defense looked a step ahead of the offense. It's not like the Charger defense hasn't seen every formation and play a hundred times and there is a lot less rhythm and timing on the defensive side to perfect. None the less, Andy Dion and Eric Weber looked to be improving upon the form that emerged last year as Hillsdale's defensive line became one of the top units in the GLIAC. Both were in the backfield all Sunday afternoon.

Linebacker Tom Korte stepped into the Middle Linebacker role and was impressive in the absence of senior captain Steve Balone who continues to rehab an injury. The Charger secondary had some big hits including one from Steve Otterbein and consistent coverage from Nick Sutherland who had the day's only interception.

Offensively, the line led by Chet Crowley continues to improve and tackle Jared Veldeer is a noticeable presence at 6'8" and 2 ounces less than a boxcar. A lot of eyes will be on Tight End Mike Pavelich as he tries to fill the big shoes left by Keith Recker. Pavelich looked solid both catching and blocking.

Phil Martin looked his usual self, as a dependable tailback with break-away speed. With just a year left in his career, you can't help but look down the depth chart to see who may be emerging as the next starter once Martin leaves. Vinnie Panizzi had an impressive outing, getting in for Hillsdale's only ground score, plus the visor makes him look really sweet as well.

Mark Nicolet will be just fine at quarterback still with a ton of upside potential, making solid choices with an improved lot of receivers. On Sunday it seemed his passes started a bit high (ask Derek Nelson), then were a bit low, only to find a nice medium and rhythm toward the end. The prettiest shot of the day came on a 52 yard laser to Nick Gurica. With really only one year (2 partials) behind him he looks nothing like the qb that had to jump in Aaron Scholl's absence last season and especially the one I saw get welcomed to D2 football as the 3rd stringer against Grand Valley in Allendale. The intangibles that continue to grow and mature in this kid are the biggest assets he brings not only to the program but to the campus and community. Hopefully he can keep his car out of the ditch during his philanthropic efforts this year. Scholl looked like vintage Scholl running the twos, displaying his amazing quickness that makes him a huge threat however he gets the ball now as a receiver.

Speaking of receivers, Nelson has the size and athleticism to be the most prototypical wide-out at HC since the days of Ed House. Nelson hauled in a leaping fade for a touchdown from Scholl, but must overcome the injury bug that has plagued his early career. Spend one minute talking to this kid though and you realize how focused and dedicated he is to being a big contributor to the program. "I just feel (the injuries) have motivated me," he told me Sunday. "I feel like I can help the team. I want to be out there. I love these guys. I love this program. I know where it is heading and it just feels great to be back out on the field."

Even if teams decide to lock down on Nelson, there are a number of other threats who showed the ability to get open, despite being what some might call undersized. Nick Gurica, Bill Brown, Aaron Waldie, and Scholl aren't going to wow anybody with tall, lanky receiver bodies but will match quickness with anybody in the league. These are the most weapons Hillsdale has had at this position and they remind me a lot of my teammates from the 1990's Joe Ransley, Bob Finkovich, and Marty Walsh--guys who had pretty nice careers and made key receptions when needed. This lot will be fun to watch and opens the offense up far more than could in years past.

Sure, there were some highlights on the field Sunday. But for me the real excitement was the atmosphere that just permeates from everyone involved with this team. They believe in themselves and know great things are happening with this program. The rest of the GLIAC might be hyping Ashland's rise and still putting all of their stock into the so-called Big 3 of GVSU, Saginaw, and Northwood. Me, I will take the Chargers to make the most noise this season. Let everybody judge Hillsdale by the last few years. We will see what they think in November.

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