Franklin Announces 2017 Athletic Hall of Fame Class

(L-R) Joe Chester, Kelly Vance Eckman and Tim Fish will be honored as the newest member of the FC Athletic Hall of Fame during homecoming week
(L-R) Joe Chester, Kelly Vance Eckman and Tim Fish will be honored as the newest member of the FC Athletic Hall of Fame during homecoming week

FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College athletic department is pleased to announce the three newest inductees into the Athletic Hall of Fame in former student-athletes Joe Chester, Kelly (Vance) Eckman and Tim Fish. The trio will be officially inducted on Thursday night, Oct. 26 as part of the homecoming week festivities.

Chester, Class of 1983, lettered in three different sports during his time as a Grizzly, earning four letters on the track and the football field while picking up one letter as a member of the FC baseball team.

After being recruited to play football under legendary head coach Stewart "Red" Faught, Chester was a star at receiver for the Grizzlies. He finished his career with 166 catches for 2,978 yards, the latter a program record when he hung up his cleats.

His biggest year came in 1981, when he set the Grizzlies' single-season program records for catches (66) and receiving yards (1,139). Both of those records would stand until 1988.

Chester was a three-time HCC all-conference selection and an two-time NAIA All-American following back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving campaigns in 1981-82. Additionally, he was named a Kodak All-American in 1982, a recipient of the Wil. B. Nelp Award in 1983 and was the Franklin representative for the 1983 HCC Student Athlete award.

Vance, Class of 2004, was a standout for the Franklin women's tennis team for all four years of her tenure in navy and old gold. She made an impact immediately with the Grizzlies', stepping in as the team's number one singles player as a freshman and holding that spot atop the lineup for all four years.

A four-time Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Most Valuable Player, Vance helped the Grizzlies grab a pair of conference championships. She closed out her career with three No. 1 singles championships, a No. 1 doubles championship and a No. 2 doubles championship at the conference level. To this day, her 52 singles wins are still a program record.

Fish, Class of 2007, was a standout for the Grizzlies' men's golf team under former head coach Dr. Richard Park. During his four years on the course, Fish collected nine medalist finishes, including two HCAC individual championships. Fish also competed in a pair of NCAA Division III National Championships, placing 14th in 2005 and 36th in 2006.

He was a four-time All-HCAC member, a four-time Great Lakes All-Region Team selection and was one of five golfers to be named to the NCAA All-Freshman Team in 2003. Fish capped off his playing career by being named an NCAA All-American in 2006, and he still holds the program record for single season average (74.07) and career stroke average (75.29).

In addition to being dominant on the course, Fish was also a star in the classroom and exemplified what it means to be a student-athlete. Fish was a recipient of the Wil B. Nelp Award, was an NCAA Academic All-American in 2006 and 2006 and graduated cum laude in 2007.

This year's three inductees also will be honored at halftime of the Homecoming football game on Saturday, October 28. Kickoff against Mount St. Joseph is set for 1:30 p.m. from Faught Stadium.