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Buckel, Mulinix honored

ALLIANCE — Area products Dan Buckel and Rick Mulinix are receiving honors from the Mount Union M Club.

Dan Buckel, Mount Union Class of 1976, is the Hugh Jae Award recipient, which recognizes M Club members who have distinguished themselves in service to M Club or athletics at Mount Union.

Buckel, a graduate of Southern Local High School, has spent more than 30 years as the “voice of Mount Union Stadium” as the Mount Union Stadium announcer behind the microphone for numerous championship and NCAA playoff games. Buckel also broadcasted Mount Union football and basketball games for local radio stations, played tennis for the Purple Raiders as a student, and had a two-year stint as women’s basketball coach at Mount Union from 1984-86. He also was the United girls basketball coach.

The award is named for Hugh Jae, a 1954 Mount Union graduate, who was an M Club Hall of Famer, professor, and administrator at Mount Union.

Mulinix (Class of 2002) is part of seven-person class in the Mount Union M Club 2020 Hall of Fame.

Rick Mulinix, who was an All-Ohioan at West Branch High School where he is the head baseball coach, earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference first team honors as a catcher at Mount Union in 2001 and 2002. In 2002, he earned American Baseball Coaches Association All-American honors and still holds the Purple Raider record for career home runs with 24.

To be inducted into the M Club Hall of Fame, a student-athlete must have earned a degree from Mount Union and received two letters in one sport, or one letter in two or more sports. Athletes are eligible for selection 15 years after graduation. Consideration will be based solely on Mount Union varsity participation, preceding graduation.

Mulinix is joined by Bill Eagle ’97 (track and field), Brian Holdford ’01 (men’s soccer), John Homon (track and field and cross country coach), J.R. Richner ’94 (wrestling), Ken Smith, Jr. ’82 (track and field) and Jeff Wojtowicz ’84 (football, men’s and women’s tennis coaching).

Bill Eagle, a graduate of Ravenna High School, was a three-time All-American in the pole vault with a fifth place finish at the 1994 NCAA Outdoor Championships and a pair of fourth place finishes at both the 1996 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships.

Brian Holdford, a graduate of Hubbard High School, earned All-Ohio Athletic Conference honors all four years with first team accolades in 1998 and 1999. He led the team in points in 1998 and 1999.

John Homon coached cross country, track and field at Mount Union for 31 years before retiring in 2010. He amassed more Ohio Athletic Conference championships (51) than any other coach in conference history and had 24 top 10 team finishes at NCAA cross country, indoor and outdoor championships. In 2007, he was inducted into the Division III Track and Field Hall of Fame.

James (J.R.) Richner, a graduate of Painesville Riverside High School, was an All-American with a seventh place finish at 118 pounds at the 1994 NCAA Wrestling Championships. He had a four-year record of 96-34-2. His 96 wins is currently ninth on the school’s all-time wins list.

Ken Smith Jr., a graduate of East Canton High School, was a two-time All-American with a third place finish at the 1980 NCAA Championships and a sixth place finish at the 1981 NCAA Championships. He also was champion in the high jump at the 1980 Ohio Athletic Conference Championships.

Jeff Wojtowicz was an assistant football coach at Mount Union for 35 seasons spanning the head coaching tenures of both Larry and Vince Kehres. He earned coaching awards in 2001 National Football Foundation Northeast Ohio Assistant Coach of the Year, 2004 Ohio Athletic Conference Assistant Coach of the Year and 2006 AFCA Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year award. He also spent 26 years as the head men’s tennis coach and 17 years as the head women’s tennis coach. In 2009, he led the men’s team to a school-record 21 wins, OAC regular season and tournament titles and a first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and a first round win. He was a three-time OAC Men’s Coach of the Year and two-time OAC Women’s Coach of the Year. As a football player for the Raiders, he was an All-OAC defensive back and team captain in 1983. Over the years, he also taught classes, aided the wrestling and track a nd field programs, and was the NCAA Compliance Director.

Mike Hemminger (Class of 1969) is the recipient of the Duke Barrett Award of Excellence.

Hemminger, a graduate of Austintown Fitch High School, was a four-year letter winner and 1967 team captain on the Mount Union football team. He was among the team’s top tacklers even after a construction accident injured his arm. After graduating with a degree in English, he went on to become a teacher with assistant football coaching stops at Howland, Warren Harding and Marlington High Schools. He was the head coach at Berkshire High School in Burton, Ohio, and an assistant coach at Adrian (Mich.) College.

The Duke Barrett Award of Excellence is named for the 1951 graduate who was a long-time supporter of Purple Raider athletics. He was an avid M Club member, former chair of the Hall of Fame committee, and Mount Union football coach from 1956-61. The award honors a member of M Club for career experiences or activities that have brought honor and recognition to the individual and, in turn, Mount Union.

Each of these inductees and award winners will be honored on campus in the future.

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