Trine University inducted four of its distinguished former athletes into its Athletics
Hall of Fame during the annual Touchstone and Homecoming Celebration Dinner on Friday,
Prior to the induction, the university recognized former faculty member and golf coach
Bill SanGiacomo by announcing that the golf laboratory in Ford Hall has been renamed
the Bill SanGiacomo Teaching and Learning Center.
SanGiacomo, who was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019, retired from
Trine in 2020 after 55 years with the university, including 50 as golf coach. His
accomplishments included starting the golf management major, conducting many golf
camps and directing theatre productions.
“I just want to tell everyone here what a privilege it has been for me to work with
so many wonderful people here at Trine University and the opportunities they gave
me, when I first came here as an English teacher, to expand some of my desires and
talents into other areas,” SanGiacomo said. “I don’t know where else I could have
had that opportunity.”
The Trine University Athletics Hall of Fame honors student-athletes and team representatives
who have set a high standard for Trine intercollegiate men’s and women’s sports in
the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and National Collegiate
Athletics Association (NCAA).
This year’s inductees were basketball player John Peters, wrestler Nick Kraus, baseball
player Ryan Smith and softball and volleyball player Carly Searles.
Peters graduated from then Tri-State University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science
in civil engineering after competing on three conference-winning men’s basketball
teams. He was also a student-athlete for two NAIA District 21 State Championship teams
and one that made an NAIA Sweet 16 appearance.
In all four years of Peters’ career, he was Honorable Mention All-Mid Central Conference
and was twice named Honorable Mention All-NAIA District 21. Peters was a four-year
team leader in rebounds per game and was believed to have been the all-time leading
rebounder at the time of his graduation. Today, he sits eighth on the all-time rebounding
average list, with some seasons he played in missing statistics.
As a team in 1974-75, Tri-State was nationally ranked in rebounding and was the top
rebounding team in the country for most of the season. The squad holds the school
record for most team rebounds in a season with 1,492 boards (46.6 RPG) in 32 games.
On campus, Peters was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and was a part
of Inter Fraternity Council. He was also involved in the American Society of Civil
Engineers (ASCE), served as Hershey Hall Evening Activities Director and was a student
assistant coach for the men’s basketball program during his fifth year.
Today, he is a sales engineer for Staffco-Campisano Inc. He is retiring March 1, 2022,
after 40 years of service. His wife, Liat Peters, was also a graduate of Tri-State
University in 1984. Both are longtime financial supporters of their alma mater and
have stayed in Angola.
Kraus graduated from Trine University in 2010 as one of the winningest wrestlers in
In 2010, Kraus was the first national qualifier in program history and was honored
as an All-Academic Mid-States Conference student-athlete. Krause helped the Thunder
win championships including the 2008 Spartan Mat Classic, the 2008 and 2009 Little
State Championships and 2010 Mid-States Championship.
In the Trine wrestling record book, Kraus finds his name second in all-time wins (118),
second in all-time pinfall victories (48), second in all-time winning percentage (.738),
third in all-time tech falls (7) and fourth in all-time major decisions (17). In his
senior season, Kraus picked up 35 victories, the second-highest single-season total
in school history.
Kraus is a teacher at Garrett Middle School and head wrestling coach at Garrett High
School, where he has led the Railroaders to three conference championships (NECC),
two IHSWCA Team state runner-up performances (2A) and one IHSWCA Team state championship
(2A). Kraus is also a professional MMA fighter, winning two amateur and two professional
MMA Championships. He and his wife Emily have four children: Karly, Macy, Piper and
Smith is a 2012 graduate of Trine University with a degree in marketing and minor
in entrepreneurship. A four-year member of Thunder varsity baseball, he distinguished
himself among the greats in program history.
Smith was a three-time All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) winner
in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as a third baseman, designated hitter and utility man. He led
Trine to its first MIAA Tournament appearance in 2012 and was the team MVP in both
2011 and 2012.
On the all-time list, Smith finds himself second in on-base percentage (.482) and
sacrifice flies (8), fourth in home runs (9) and walks (56), and fifth in batting
average (.380), RBIs (85), slugging percentage (.546) and doubles (28). Smith holds
the single-season records for on-base percentage (.543) in 2010, RBIs (41) in 2010
and sacrifice flies (5) in 2012.
On campus, he was a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and Order of Omega, and served
as Brotherhood Development Chair and Social Chair. Smith was also a part of Fellowship
of Christian Athletes during his time at Trine.
He and his wife Brooke have two children, Zoey and Zane. He currently works as the
president of RS Supplies and Optics, LLS, in Chandler, Arizona.
Searles was a dual athlete, gaining Hall of Fame recognition for her efforts on the
softball field and volleyball court. Searles is a 2015 graduate of Trine University
with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and minors in marketing and leadership.
At the national level, Searles is the first and only three-time All-American in softball
history. In the classroom, she earned national recognition in 2014 as a Capital One
First Team Academic All-American. On April 22, 2015, she was named as Trine’s first
and only Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Hitter of the Week for NCAA Division III.
In all divisions of the NCAA, Searles holds the record for most triples in a season
(17) and is ranked second in career triples (48). Searles also has NCAA records for
Division III for most career runs with 261 and most career hits at 306.
As an outfielder for the softball team, Searles led the Thunder to four consecutive
regular season MIAA titles and three MIAA Tournament championships. During her time
on the field, Trine was an incredible 62-2 in conference play. Searles led the Thunder
to a 43-6 record in 2014, where the softball program hosted its first-ever NCAA Regional
and the team appeared in the NCAA Division III National Championships in Tyler, Texas.
The MIAA named Searles Most Valuable Player in 2015. She was an All-MIAA First Team
recipient in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and was All-MIAA Second Team as a freshman in 2012.
Searles’ name appears at the top of the Trine softball career record book 11 times,
including games (184), starts (184), highest batting average (.471), most at-bats
(650), most hits (306), most triples (48), total bases (494), highest on-base percentage
(.529), most runs scored (261), stolen bases (124) and steal attempts (134).
Additionally, Searles holds eight single-season records for Trine softball: highest
batting average (.523 in 2015), most at-bats (182 in 2012), most hits (85 in 2014),
most triples (17 in 2014), highest on-base percentage (.601 in 2015), most runs scored
(75 in 2015), most stolen bases (40 in 2013) and steal attempts (44 in 2014).
In women’s volleyball, Searles was a setter who is a member of both the 1,000 Assist
Club and 1,000 Dig Club. Searles accumulated 2,449 assists and 1,259 digs in her career,
spanning from the 2011 season to 2014.
She holds the Trine women’s volleyball record for most service attempts (1,398) and
is second in sets played (428), third in assists (2,449), fifth in service aces (128)
and sixth in digs (1,259). Searles was named All-MIAA First Team as a setter in 2014
and was nominated to the All-MIAA Second Team in 2012 and 2013.
Aside from athletics, Searles was involved in the Triangle newspaper, multicultural
organizations and the American Marketing Association (AMA). She currently works in
business development at Caravan Facilities Management and is the head volleyball coach
at Freeland Public Schools as well as a club volleyball coach. She is married to Justin
Krenzke and they currently reside in Freeland, Michigan.