GEORGETOWN, Ky- — With 22 seasons and a game under his belt as the Georgetown College head football coach, Bill Cronin’s Tigers have a 199-57 record with two NAIA national titles, four national championship appearances, 14 conference titles and 15 national tournament appearances. The winning percentage in the two-plus decades – 77.7. The NAIA took notice of this success and announced Monday that Cronin will be inducted as a member of its 2019 Hall of Fame class.
“Georgetown College is known for offering a championship-level education of the mind and heart. Coach Cronin’s success and character are a testament to that type of transformative education,” said President William Jones. “With this tremendous accomplishment, he brings further honor to the college, our athletic program and football team. Once again, it is a great day to be a Tiger.”
Cronin is two-time NAIA Coach of the Year, two-time AFCA Region Coach of the Year and eight-time Mid-South Conference Coach of the Year.
“Much of this credit goes to my first lady, Ellen. She is my support and allows me to give everything to what I do,” Cronin said. “Ellen along with my three sons have given up much over the past 30 years for me to pursue my passion, and I love them for that.”
This is Georgetown’s 11th NAIA Hall of Fame member. Basketball great Cecil Tuttle started it all with a 1973 induction as a player. Three other basketball players – Kenny Davis (1984), Charles Grote (1994) and Will Carlton (2015) are also in, while Eddie Eviston (2013) is the football Tiger in the player category.
Cronin joins legendary GC coaches – Bob Davis (1984 – basketball), Jim Reid (1996 – basketball), Donna Hawkins (2000 – volleyball) and Susan Johnson (2010 – basketball). Davis also coached football while at Georgetown. The other coach with Georgetown ties in the NAIA Hall of Fame is Kevin Donley, who guided the Tigers with the assistance of Cronin as his offensive coordinator to the school’s first national title in 1991.
“We have a lot of great coaches that make Georgetown home, building a tradition here,” said GC Director of Athletics Brian Evans. “That is rare in this business at any level, but it is what makes our department stand out. Cronin could be coaching anywhere. However, his passion and love for Georgetown kept him anchored right here.
“Football’s foundation was formed when Cronin was an assistant and he has built it into a perennial powerhouse. He garners respect across the country at every level as was evident when he was the first NAIA coach ever voted to the American Football Coaches Association board and eventually serving that organization at the highest level as president. Following his presidency this past year, he knew he would not be on the board anymore so he worked to ensure that the NAIA now has two representatives. To say this Hall of Fame induction is well deserved might be putting it mildly.”
Cronin was surprised by the news before a practice this past Thursday surrounded by his players. In true legendary coach form he did not miss a beat to use this to inspire and instruct his team heading into practice.
“Quite a surprise. I had no idea. I was wondering why some of our administration and my wife were here and didn’t think of this by any means. This is a sign of what this program has done over a number of years,” Cronin said. “It is you players that make these kind of things happen. It’s the players and coaches before you that make this type of honor a reality. I give credit to the past and present coaches here who coach their tails off day in and day out so we can get to this point.
“This is quite an honor, an honor for me, but it’s you guys, it’s this program. To my knowledge we have two football coaches that now are honored in the NAIA Hall of Fame. Two of the past three eras of coaches is pretty awesome. That is what you guys are trying to maintain. It’s the tradition you are trying to continue and it starts right here.”
Georgetown plays it second straight contest of the season on the road Saturday against Southeastern University before lacing it up at home Sept. 28 against St. Andrews University.