Panther Athletics Hall of Fame
Class of 2008
Purdue North Central athletics recently inducted its third class to the Panther Athletics Hall of Fame. The two new members, Paul Gillikin and Rusty Hardsock, were inducted at the season ending Athletic Awards Banquet.
The Hall of Fame was started three years ago and currently has only nine members. The inaugural class (2006) included Ed Bednar, Larry Blake Sr., and Jerry Lewis. The Class of 2007 honored John Coggins, Steve Hart, Jean-Ann Morton and Jamie Smith.
Gillikin, is a former Athletic Director and baseball coach (both assistant and head coach) who worked at PNC for six years from 1996 to 2001. He was primarily known for leading the athletic program to intercollegiate NAIA status in 1998-1999 from club and intramural status and his passion for changing internal PNC mindsets during this time.
Gillikin researched, traveled to NAIA institutions, met with student government for funding and wrote the NAIA proposal. He also met with the faculty, asking for their support and explaining the many benefits of athletics, specifically full-time, quality students, more publicity for PNC and the development of the whole individual.
As an NAIA institution, Gilliken established eligibility standards including dealing with new academic and rules/case scenarios for PNC.
As a baseball coach he served as an assistant for two years under Larry Blake Sr., before becoming the head coach his last three years when PNC transitioned to NAIA status.
These were the first years when the athletic teams expanded their schedules to approach NAIA limits in order to take the next competitive step. He averaged between 12-18 wins his first three years as the teams transitioned to a new level, including conference play in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
It is important to note that Gilliken did all of these things while he also served as the Director of Student Activities. Due to Gillikin laying the foundation, these are now two separate positions at PNC that have expanded dramatically.
Gilliken also started the Fitness Center on campus at PNC, a major step for a University without a current indoor facility.
At the time of the induction, Gillikin was the Athletic Director/Baseball Coach at Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies in Cape Hatteras, NC .
Rusty Hardsock was a member (forward) of the PNC basketball team from 1998 to 2002. He was the MVP during the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons and served as captain from 1999-2002.
During Hardsock's time he led the team in rebounding in 1998-1999 and was second in scoring and rebounding behind current Hall of Famer, Jamie Smith during his other seasons.
Hardsock, who won the Senior Award in 2002 was named to several all-tournament teams during his career including the Mitchell Memorial Tournament and the Asbury Shootout in 2000 and the Moody Bible Institute Big 4 Classic in 1999.
Hardsock was named All Conference in 2001 and Honorable Mention All-Conference in 2000. This was during a time when PNC did not garner much recognition as they went through the normal struggles of a new intercollegiate program. During the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons he was also an NAIA Men's Basketball All-America Scholar Athlete.
Hardsock was instrumental in leading the team through the transition to NAIA status, including their first CCAC victory against #12 Judson College on Jan. 2, 2002.
Hardsock earned his Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education in 2002 from PNC. He was a member Kappa Delta Pi (international Honor society), a Student Education Association member from 2000 to 2002, earned a PNC Outstanding Future Educator Award in 2002 and was annually on the Chancellor's List for academic excellence.
Hardsock currently serves as a third grade teacher at Yost elementary School in Chesterton, IN.
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