Trine University inducted two new individuals into its Athletic Hall of Fame over
This year’s inductees are former football All-American Eric Watt and track and field
standout Robert D. “Bob” Coates. Watt and Coates were formally inducted into the Hall
of Fame at the University's Touchstone and Homecoming Celebration Dinner on Friday,
Sept. 30, and were introduced on-field at Saturday's football game against Concordia
Watt was a nationally recognized standout on the gridiron who led the Thunder football
team to multiple championships and postseason appearances.
Watt was named the winner of the 2010 Gagliardi Trophy, given to the most outstanding
football player in NCAA Division III and considered the Division III equivalent of
the Heisman Trophy. Watt earned All-America honors and led the nation in passing efficiency
while leading Trine to a third-straight MIAA Championship and postseason appearance.
Other individual honors earned by Watt included back-to-back Michigan Intercollegiate
Athletic Association Offensive MVP honors, three All-MIAA recognitions and seven MIAA
Offensive Player of the Week awards. He was named the 2011 winner of Trine University’s
Robert L. Greim Award, given to the senior male student-athlete who best embodies
the values of leadership, character, citizenship, scholarship and athletic accomplishment.
With Watt guiding the offense at quarterback, the Thunder earned Sweet 16 appearances
in the NCAA Tournament in 2009 and 2010.
Upon the conclusion of his career, Watt held 12 school records. He still holds eight
of those records.
Watt graduated from Trine in 2011 with a degree in finance. He works as the chief
financial officer for W.T.I. Truck Accessories in Kentland, Indiana.
Robert D. “Bob” Coates
Coates was a standout in shot put and discus for a string of successful Tri-State
University track and field teams from 1976-80.
Coates earned All-Mid-Central Conference honors three times from 1978-80. A three-time
co-captain, Coates was instrumental in leading his teams to four-straight MCC titles.
He was a varsity letter-winner for all four conference championship teams. His teams
won the NAIA District 21 meet three times.
Coates earned national acclaim in being named to Who’s Who Among American College
and University Students, one of the nation’s oldest and most prominent organizations
for recognizing students. He was also named to Outstanding Young Men of America, an
annual award given by the United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees) organization.
Coates earned a Bachelor of Science in health and physical education in 1980. Coates
is married with four children and works as church consultant for Lifetouch Church
Directories and Portraits in Seymour, Indiana.