Banquet honors former standouts and current athletes
Four former Baker University standouts will be inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5, at the Baker University Athletic Hall of Fame Induction and Student-Athlete Awards Banquet at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center.
Also included at the annual event is the recognition of Baker’s current NAIA All-Americans, All-America Scholar-Athletes and All-Heart of America Athletic Conference performers.
The Hall of Fame inductees—Taylor Gill, ’83; Phil Hannon, ’86; Joe Girardi (posthumously); and Liesel Kirk-Fink, ’02—will be recognized at halftime of the homecoming game against Avila on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Liston Stadium.
Here’s a look at the Hall of Fame class for 2012:
Taylor Gill, ’83
Taylor Gill made an immediate impact as a four-year letterman in football, starting at fullback for three years and leading the team in rushing twice. He was the No. 8 leading rusher in the NAIA his senior year and finished the campaign an Honorable Mention All-American. He finished his career with 35 touchdowns and 3,049 total rushing yards, which, at the time of his graduation, was a Baker record.
Phil Hannon, ’86
Phil Hannon has brought honor to Baker University through his individual athletic achievements, his career in professional baseball and his contributions as a college coach. At BU, he was a four-year letterman in both football and baseball for two Hall of Fame coaches, Charlie Richard (1995) and Dan Harris (2009). After college, he signed a professional baseball contract with the Chicago Cubs organization, where he played center field for the Pennsylvania League champions, the Geneva Cubs. His abilities earned him a spot on the coaching roster after he retired, and he remained with the Cubs before returning to his alma mater to coach our baseball team. He is married to Charlene Potter Hannon, ’85, and together they have four children: Andrew, ’09, Aaron, ’11, Annie, ’11, and Asher, ’16.
Former football coach Joe Girardi brought honor and distinction to the University through his recruiting, coaching and leadership of an exceptional group of student-athletes. He coached at Baker from 1976-1979 and finished with a 25-15-1 overall record. In 1977, Baker finished 8-2 with its first national NAIA ranking at No. 13. The 1978 team went 7-2 in the regular season and competed in its first postseason game, the Boot Hill Bowl. In 1979, Girardi’s men went 7-3 overall and 5-1 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. Coach Girardi died in a car accident in 1982, and his legacy as one of Baker’s best coaches remains today.
Liesel Kirk-Fink, ’02
A three-time All-American in track and field and cross country, Liesel Kirk-Fink is perhaps the most decorated runner in Baker University’s history. During her senior season, Kirk-Fink placed fourth at the NAIA outdoor nationals in the 5,000-meter run, the culmination of a career that includes 11 school records. On campus, she was a member of the Alpha Chi Omega sorority and the parMentors.