2008 FERRIS STATE ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES
Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame to Induct Six This Year
July 10, 2008
Three former student-athletes along with three past head coaches are included in the Ferris State University Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2008, which will be inducted this fall.
Chosen as the Class of 2008 are: Clarence Carlisle of Grand Rapids, men's basketball (1969-73); Stephanie (Chaffin) Cleland of Carleton, volleyball and softball (1989-93); coach Jill Hirschinger of Newmarket, N.H., volleyball (1984-95); coach Tom Ludwig of Clawson, men's basketball (1979-95); coach Keith Otterbein of Hillsdale, football (1984-94); and Mary (Gnatkowski) Yearham of Saginaw, softball (1982-85).
Otterbein, who's currently the head football coach at fellow Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member institution Hillsdale, will not be able to attend the banquet due to his coaching commitments. However, his father, Kyle, will be present and give his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.
A 15-member Selection Committee of faculty, staff, alumni and community members chose the inductees from among 36 nominees. The class spans four decades and includes representation from four different sports.
"This class continues our success of honoring individuals that have been cornerstones of Ferris State Athletics history," said FSU Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic. "The former student-athletes being recognized had tremendously successful careers both individually and with their teams. In addition, the coaches chosen for induction had great careers at Ferris and positively influenced the lives of hundreds of student-athletes through their efforts.
"We are extremely proud to add all of these inductees to our prestigious Hall of Fame roster," he added.
The six new inductees will join 82 honorees already enshrined during the ninth annual Induction Banquet on Sept. 26 at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids. The Ballroom opens at 6 p.m. (EDT) with a reception in honor of this year's inductees. The dinner runs from 7-8 p.m. (EDT) and the induction program follows until approximately 10 p.m. (EDT).
This year's honorees will also be recognized the following day (Sept. 27) during halftime activities as the Bulldog football team takes on Northern Michigan in the ninth annual Hall of Fame Game with kickoff set for 2 p.m. (EDT) at Top Taggart Field.
The Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame, which inducted its Charter Class in 2000, was established to honor those student-athletes and coaches who have distinguished themselves in their sport or honorary members who made truly exceptional contributions to athletics.
For ticket information, please contact the FSU Athletics Department at (231) 591-2860.
Following are thumbnail sketches of each new inductee:
Clarence Carlisle – A Grand Rapids native, Carlisle tallied 1,910 points and 428 rebounds during his Bulldog men's basketball career from 1969-73. The four-time NAIA All-District 23 selection currently remains the program's third all-time leading scorer and is second with 784 made field goals along with sixth in free throws (342). His 557 points in 1970-71 ranks as Ferris' 10th-best single-season figure while his 226 field goals in 1972-73 continues to be listed sixth on the school's seasonal leaders list. He posted Ferris' third-best scoring average (17.1 ppg) for a freshman in his initial season (1969-70) under legendary head coach Jim Wink. Carlisle led the Bulldogs in scoring as a freshman before teaming with eventual school scoring champion Dennis Johnson his final three campaigns. The Bulldogs lost two home games or fewer all four of his seasons at the Old Jim Wink Arena and were a perfect 12-0 at home his senior campaign (1972-73). Ferris won 17 or more games all four seasons and recorded a 26-4 overall record while claiming the school's first Great Lakes Conference championship in 1972-73. The Bulldogs also won 20 games (20-8) during Carlisle's sophomore season.
Stephanie (Chaffin) Cleland – Cleland compiled 1,240 kills, 1,304 digs and 210 service aces as a Bulldog volleyball player from 1989-92. She received second-team All-America honors as a senior in 1992 after leading Ferris to a 26-14 overall record and a regional tournament appearance. A two-time All-GLIAC honoree, she is presently listed 10th in career kills, sixth in digs and second in service aces among Ferris' all-time leaders. Her 606 kills as a senior represents the program's fifth-best seasonal mark while her 85 aces in 1991 is the school's second-best single-season figure. The 5-10 outside hitter had 33 kills in a single match against Northwood in 1992 (10/20), which ranks as FSU's fourth-highest tying match total. In her four-year career under head coach Jill Hirschinger, she helped Ferris State post a 116-44 mark along with three NCAA-II Tournament appearances. The Bulldogs also won back-to-back GLIAC titles in 1989-90 before finishing second in both 1991 and 1992. Cleland earned GLIAC All-Academic Team accolades in 1992 and was the school's Most Valuable Player in 1991. She was also a two-time All-Great Lakes Region honoree and served as team captain in both 1991 and 1992. In addition to volleyball, she also participated in softball and earned two varsity letters at FSU. She hit .260, had 19 hits and 14 RBI's in 73 at-bats during the 1990 campaign. Then, after returning to the softball team for the 1993 season, she compiled a .299 batting average and pounded out 32 hits in 37 games. The Trenton High School product tallied nine prep varsity letters prior to her Bulldog career.
Jill Hirschinger – In her 12 seasons as the head coach at Ferris State, Hirschinger posted a remarkable 330-151 (.686) overall record. During the 1995 season, she reached a milestone by winning her 400th career match. In 1987, Hirschinger led the Bulldogs to their first-ever trip to the NCAA Final Four, placing fourth in the country. The Bulldogs participated in the NCAA National Tournament seven times in her 12-year tenure as the program's head coach. Hirschinger, who ranks as the program's all-time winningest coach, was named GLIAC Coach of the Year four times and Regional Coach of the Year on three occasions. Under Hirschinger, the Bulldogs produced 10 All-Americans, 22 All-Region players and three conference Player of the Year honorees. She also had 24 FSU players named Academic All-Conference as well as two Academic All-Americans. Hirschinger's clubs captured six GLIAC Championships and her 1984 squad tallied a school best 48-3 overall record. Eight of her teams won 20 or more matches and six compiled 30 or more victories in a season. While at Ferris, Hirschinger served as Assistant Athletics Director, NCAA Compliance Coordinator and the Senior Women's Administrator for the department. She was a member of the NCAA National Volleyball Committee and the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America Committee along with chairing the regional ranking and all-region selection committees. Prior to her position at Ferris, Hirschinger served as head coach at Drake University for five years. She graduated from Utah State where she was a member of the volleyball and track and field teams and helped the Aggies claim the 1978 AIAW Volleyball National Championship. Hirschinger left Ferris to become the head coach at New Hampshire where she enters her 13th season at the program's helm and 30th overall campaign as a head coach this fall. In 28 years as a head coach at both the NCAA Division I and II levels, she has accumulated an impressive 619-408-10 (.602) overall record. Her 619 career coaching victories ranks 18th on the all-time active NCAA wins list.
Tom Ludwig – Ludwig guided the Bulldog men's basketball program to seven GLIAC titles in his 14 full seasons at the program's helm. He compiled a 266-172 (.607) overall record as Ferris' head coach. Ludwig served as assistant coach and interim head coach in 1979-80 and 1980-81 before permanently taking over for legendary head coach Jim Wink in the 1981-82 campaign. He led the Bulldogs to five NCAA Division II Tournament appearances, including a NCAA-II Elite Eight appearance in 1987-88. His squads won 20 or more games five times and posted a school-record 25 wins in 1987-88. Three of those 20-plus win campaigns came during a four-year stretch in which the Bulldogs captured a then league-record four-straight GLIAC Championships. Ferris went undefeated (16-0) in conference play during the 1988-89 season. Ludwig was a five-time GLIAC Coach of the Year honoree and his 1988-89 squad posted a number one national ranking. Prior to arriving at FSU, Ludwig was an assistant coach at Northern Illinois from 1966-70 and then spent four years (1970-74) as head coach at Lake Superior State where he posted an impressive 68-32 (.680) record and was voted the NAIA District 23 Coach of the Year in his second season. He also coached several years in the high school ranks at Sault Ste. Marie High School where he earned all-state honors as a prepster. He was voted into the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. As a collegiate player, Ludwig was a four-year letterwinner at Michigan and helped the Wolverines capture two Big 10 Conference titles and a second-place finish at the 1965 NCAA Championships.
Keith Otterbein – The third all-time winningest coach in Bulldog football history, Otterbein left his mark on the FSU program by posting a 60-39-3 (.603) overall record during his head coaching tenure from 1986-94. Otterbein, who was the school's defensive coordinator under Dan Underwood for two seasons (1984-85) prior to being named head coach, led the Bulldogs to three consecutive NCAA Division II Playoff Quarterfinal-Round appearances. His best season at the FSU helm came in 1994 as he guided the Bulldogs to an 11-1 overall mark and the school's third consecutive Midwest Intercollegiate Football Conference Championship his final campaign. FSU compiled a 30-4-2 mark during his final three seasons. Otterbein was voted the league's Coach of the Year in both 1992 and 1994 along with attaining NCAA-II Region 3 Coach of the Year accolades both years. As a student-athlete at Hillsdale College, Otterbein earned honorable mention 1978 NAIA All-America accolades and received a National Football Foundation Hall of Fame Scholar-Athlete Award. A four-year letterwinner, he was also named Hillsdale's Most Outstanding Linebacker three consecutive seasons. Since leaving FSU, the Southfield Lathrup High School product spent seven seasons as the recruiting coordinator and running backs coach at Ball State University. Most recently, he returned to the GLIAC in 2002 as the head coach at his alma mater, Hillsdale, where the team recorded an impressive 8-3 overall mark and placed third in the league during the 2007 season. Prior to his arrival at FSU, Otterbein also held assistant coaching positions at both Central Michigan and Hillsdale.
Mary (Gnatkowski) Yearham – Yearham picked up 30 career decisions on the mound, which currently ranks tied for seventh place on FSU's career victory chart. The four-time first-team all-league selection is third in both career earned run average (1.29) and strikeouts (252) at Ferris State to date. The four-year letterwinner from Eisenhower High School in Saginaw compiled a 7-8 overall record along with one save in 16 pitching appearances as a senior (1985). She also posted a team-leading .310 batting average while registering 26 hits, scoring 21 runs and driving in 11 runs. Yearham was named team Most Valuable Player Award winner in both 1983 and 1985. A two-time team captain, she also saw action at shortstop. Yearham led Ferris in pitching appearances, complete games, innings pitched and earned run average all four seasons. She led FSU in victories three times, including a career-best 12-6 record and 0.75 ERA as a freshman (1982) when Ferris clinched its first GLIAC pennant with a 10-0 record and qualified for the NCAA's inaugural Division II National Championships. In her four-year career, the Bulldogs compiled a 63-53 (.543) record under three different head coaches in Carol Hutchins, Monica Folske and Pat Dolan. Yearham split time between the pitching mound and shortstop as a sophomore in 1983, hitting .277 with a team-high 23 hits, four triples, 14 runs scored and 13 runs batted in. She also led the 1983 pitching staff in wins (7), complete games (10), innings pitched (89.1) and strikeouts (67). Yearham is presently listed tied for third place in career triples (14) at Ferris State. Her 0.75 ERA and 12 victories as a freshman both rank among the school's top 20 single-season performances. She later played fastpitch softball in Canada and was a member of Kitchener's 1993 and 1995 Ontario Provincial Championship teams.