Bill Crawford, Chuck Jones to join Jeff Jackson in Hall of Fame
Bill Crawford, the "Voice of the Lakers" for nearly three decades, and former LSSU Faculty Athletics Representative Chuck Jones will be inducted into the LSSU Sports Hall of Fame during a banquet on Oct. 17. It's part of Great Lake State Weekend, Oct. 16-17 (lssu.edu/glsw).
Crawford, who recently retired as LSSU vice president of university relations and marketing, provided play-by-play coverage of Laker hockey for 28 years. Several generations grew up listening to him call games, including the memorable NCAA championships in 1988 at Lake Placid, 1992 in Albany, and 1994 in St. Paul.
"Four NCAA title games, three championships…lots of good and tough times," Crawford recalled. "But I always enjoyed the competition and calling the games…and I always enjoyed the players and the coaching staffs, and the support personnel. LSSU has been blessed with some great people."
Crawford was hired at LSSU in 1988 as director of public relations. He served as associate director of athletics under Jeff Jackson from 1993 until being named director in 1996. He was promoted VP in 2006. Crawford also has extensive media experience as a sportswriter for the Sault "Evening News" and "Sault Star," and a broadcaster and sales representative for Radio Soo.
"Anything I was able to accomplish at LSSU is as much attributable to those I was fortunate to work for and with," Crawford said. "Terry Sweeney hired me in 1988 and was a mentor and strong supporter. Tom Pink was a partner in public relations…Jeff Jackson, Scott Monaghan, Carol Lamantia, Chuck Jones, Betty Youngblood, Tom Boger, Bill Eilola and all of the outstanding coaches, athletics staff and student-athletes who competed during my tenure – too many to name. I was privileged to work for and with Tom Ewing, Bill Gleish, Pat O’Neill, John Bell and all of the great radio personnel."
During Crawford’s tenure as AD, 12 scholarships were added to the Division II programs, and he played key roles in fundraising for the "Gem of the North" and Arbuckle Student Activity Center renovation/construction projects.
Crawford and Jones are both recipients of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Tom Donahue Service Award. LSSU’s only other representative to receive the prestigious award was former athlete, coach and director of athletics Bud Cooper.
"It is indeed an honor to be nominated for the Hall of Fame,” Jones said. "I feel a bit out of place when I look at the list of people who have been previously inducted. I thoroughly enjoyed being the faculty representative at LSSU.In the athletics department, I got to know and work with directors of athletics, coaches and staff.I also worked closely with the registrar’s office and admissions personnel.I met many student athletes I would never have known otherwise.In addition to that, I met and worked with faculty reps from the GLIAC and CCHA schools."
Jones, who retired as a professor of chemistry in 2001 and was granted emeritus status in 2002, served 24 years as FAR. The FAR serves as a liaison between the department of athletics and the faculty, and assists LSSU coaches and athletes with NCAA compliance and eligibility. While many schools have NCAA compliance officers on staff, the FAR at LSSU is a volunteer who is instrumental in helping the director of athletics and coaches keep up with ever-changing NCAA regulations and eligibility standards.
"When I started in 1978, the role was much more informal, but it was also much more work," Jones explained."There were no computers and eligibility had to be checked on the paper transcript three times a year because we were on the quarter system.Also, we were affiliated with NAIA, AIAW and NCAA, which had different eligibility rules. The NCAA does the initial eligibility checks now.
"Most of the changes that have occurred over the years have made things better for the student athletes.I hope I have helped some."
Jones began his teaching career at Upper Iowa University in 1959 and was named an associate professor of chemistry at LSSU in 1970. He earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., a master's from Oklahoma State and his doctorate from Ohio State. In addition to his FAR duties, he served on the Academic Affairs Council, Administrative Council, and a variety of campus committees. He was the head of the Chemistry/Physics Dept. from 1970-1978.
Crawford, who is a native of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and Jones, who is originally from Walworth, Wisc., spent most of their professional careers playing behind-the-scenes roles in support of LSSU athletics. They were part of Laker hockey’s national dominance in the 1990s and the growth of women’s Division II sports. They, as much as the athletes and coaches who came through LSSU for three decades, helped define an era of Laker athletics.