Sept. 6, 2012
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or
University to honor four during Hall of Fame ceremony
Baldwin City, Kan. — Two former Baker University standouts, a former coach and current coach who starred in football and baseball at Baker will be inducted into the University’s Athletic Hall of Fame at 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at the Baker University Athletic Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Banquet at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel at the Convention Center.
For the second consecutive year at the event, Baker will recognize current NAIA All-Americans, All-America Scholar-Athletes and all-Heart of America Athletic Conference performers.
Three Hall of Fame inductees — Taylor Gill, Class of 1983; Phil Hannon, ’86; Liesel Kirk-Fink, ’02 — will be recognized at halftime of the homecoming game against Avila on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Liston Stadium. Former football coach Joe Girardi will be inducted posthumously.
Last year's Hall of Fame of Class and Theresa Yetmar, Baker's director of athletics, are seen at right.
Here’s a look at the Hall of Fame class for 2012:
Taylor Gill, ’83
Taylor Gill in 1978 was a freshman on Baker’s first bowl team, earning the team’s co-freshman of the year honors, and was a member of back-to-back conference titles in 1979 and 1980. A four-year letterman in football, Gill led the Wildcats in rushing his sophomore and senior seasons, finishing with 35 touchdowns and 3,049 rushing yards, the most yardage in Baker history at the time. He was an all-conference and all-district performer his senior year when he ranked eighth nationally in rushing in the NAIA.
Since graduating from Baker, Gill has worked nearly 30 years in the actuarial business. He currently is the vice president, health services actuarial with Wellpoint Inc.
Phil Hannon, ’86
With ties to the Baker University since 1983, Phil Hannon has served as head coach of the Baker baseball team since July 1999. Hannon played minor league baseball in the Chicago Cubs organization for five years, reaching the AA level in 1990, and coached and managed at the minor league level for three years. As a student-athlete at Baker, Hannon started and lettered all four years as a wide receiver for the football team and as a center fielder for the baseball team while earning a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1986. In addition to his baseball coaching duties, Hannon also serves as coordinator of outdoor facilities.
Leisel Kirk-Fink, ’02
A standout cross country and track performer at Baker, Leisel Kirk-Fink was a two-time All-America cross country performer and outdoor track All-American. She was recognized as Baker’s female athlete of the year her senior year. Fink is a Realtor and sales director for Kirk & Cobb on Topeka, Kan., where she is active in her children’s school activities and community projects, serving on the board leadership training team for the Volunteer Center of Topeka and as the board director for Friends of the Topeka Zoo.
Joe Girardi, the Wildcat coach from 1976 to 1979, compiled in four seasons a 25-15-1 record, a .610 winning percentage. He guided Baker to the Boot Hill Bowl in 1978, Baker's first postseason appearance in football.
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