Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2015 | Benedictine College

Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Published: Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Benedictine College will honor three players and one entire team at the Athletic Hall of Fame Banquet, coming October 24, 2015, during Homecoming Weekend. Bill Samuels ’54, Jeff Pieper ’86, and Jeff Pirog ’87 will be inducted into the Hall along with the entire undefeated 1985 football team.

William Samuels ’54 – Bill Samuels was a four-year varsity letterman who was one of the starting five on the legendary 1954 NAIA National Championship Basketball Team. Not only did they win the Central Conference title in a playoff against Kansas Wesleyan, they also won five games five nights in a row in the national tournament. For his efforts, Bill was named to the All-Conference team and was selected for the All-NAIA second team. He returned to the college in the 1960s to serve as the assistant basketball coach. In 1963, he also took on the role as the first fulltime soccer coach in the history of the school. He helped to establish the sport at a time when football had been dropped and there was a need for fall athletics. His team went 7-0-1 in their first official year as a varsity sport in 1963, including two wins against Rockhurst University and a victory over Kansas State. The next year saw an even tougher schedule, with Coach Samuels taking the team on the road against the Air Force Academy and Washington University. Ultimately, he gave Benedictine College and men’s soccer a blueprint from which to build a championship program.

Jeff Pieper ’86– Jeff Pieper played quarterback for the Ravens from 1982-1985, including the undefeated ’85 season. His leadership and desire to win was contagious and certainly spread to all the teams he led. During his three years as the starting quarterback, the Ravens racked up 22 victories, made their first appearance in the NAIA National Playoffs in 27 years, and had an undefeated regular season in 1985. Jeff had 3,902 total yards of offense, putting him at #12 all-time in Raven Football history. He was a double threat at his position, gaining yardage and scoring both on the ground and through the air. He is still the top rushing quarterback in the school’s history, averaging 5 yards per carry in 287 attempts and rushing for 19 touchdowns in his career. At the same time, he is in the Top 10 quarterbacks in passing, with a 45% completion rate for 2,458 total yards.

Jeff Pirog ’87 – In 1985, Jeff Pirog became the first Benedictine College position player to be named First Team NAIA All-American. He was a fierce offensive lineman who dominated every defense he faced. Overcoming personal tragedy and serious injury in 1984, he rejoined the team in 1985 as part of an offensive line that led the nation in scoring and earned an undefeated regular season that year. His workout regimen not only made him a great football player, but also made him a great weightlifter and he held numerous weightlifting records as well. His determination, quiet leadership and work ethic inspired his teammates throughout his career.

1985 Football Team & Coaches – The 1985 gridiron squad went a perfect 10-0 in their regular season, were ranked second in the nation among NAIA Division II teams, and led them all in total offense, with an average of 498 yards per game.  In eight of their ten wins, they scored 42 points or more. Jamie Mueller ran for 1,399 yards on 144 carries, a phenomenal 9.72 average yards per carry. Punt returner Sam Verslues had a 16.59 average per return, second in the nation. Seniors Derek Faulkner and Jeff Pirog, as well as Mueller, made All-District and All-American teams. And Mueller went on to be drafted by the NFL Buffalo Bills and play in the Super Bowl. They were a great group of Hall-of-Fame players that made up a truly Hall-of-Fame team.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.

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