Trine adds 2 to Hall of Fame

Trine University inducted two new individuals into its Athletic Hall of Fame over the weekend.

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 (Ill.).

Eric Watt

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

CoatesCoates 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.