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Adrian College announces first intercollegiate varsity cornhole team in Michigan

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Tossing a bag into a hole has become extremely popular in backyards and tailgating events across the nation as the game of cornhole has evolved into a sport. Its players have also advanced, and now there are competitions at the collegiate and professional levels. The increased enthusiasm for the game has caught the attention of Adrian College and prompted the Bulldogs to create a collegiate cornhole program, scheduled to begin competing in the fall of 2022.

“Adrian College was recently recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the number one Most Innovative College in the Midwest, and this program reflects that honor,” Adrian College Athletic Director Mike Duffy said. “People will undoubtedly say, oh my goodness, there they go again with another cool idea at Adrian. Well, we relish these reactions because we embrace innovation that distinguishes Adrian College in the marketplace and appeals to student demand. This is no different than bass fishing, and several other unique initiatives in recent years that have proven to be so successful in attracting great students.” Adrian College won the 2021 bass fishing national collegiate championship.

Duffy expects the new co-ed sports program will attract a lot of students with the Bulldogs’ players having an opportunity to compete on a national stage against some of the greatest amateur and professional players in the world.

“It’s big across the country, and there is some local talent,” Duffy said of the sport. “I expect we’ll bring in 40 to 50 students with this new program.”

He added that cornhole is an inexpensive program to run with limited equipment and travel costs. The Bulldogs already have a main sponsor backing them with Killshots Cornhole, a national cornhole equipment manufacturer located in Adrian, donating custom bags and boards.

The Bulldogs do not need to build a facility for the program, at least right away, Duffy said, “Because our athletic facilities are beautiful and we have plenty of existing space to field a great team.” Duffy said Killshots is also looking into building a facility in Adrian to host tournaments that the Bulldogs will be able to utilize as well as the Adrian community.

“College/Community partnerships are very important to the College,” Duffy said, “everyone wins when we can find ways to work with our community.”

Adrian College joined the American Cornhole League (ACL) and would play in sanctioned tournaments across the nation. The ACL, formed in 2015, would pit Adrian College against teams from NCAA DI to DIII institutions. The National College Cornhole Championship’s open format allows any size college to participate.

There is an opportunity to add additional sponsors as the cornhole team will wear uniforms similar to the bass team’s with multiple program-supporting businesses featured on the jerseys.

Adrian College’s athletic department will hire a coach in the next month or two and begin recruiting athletes to be ready to start competing by next Fall.

This year’s national championship is in Myrtle Beach, S.C. the weekend of December 31st to January 2nd. The event will be featured on ESPN broadcasts.

In cornhole competition, players take turns throwing bags filled with corn kernels or resin at a raised platform board with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores three points, while one on the board scores one point. Play continues until a team or player reaches or exceeds 21 points.

Duffy said the Bulldogs are taking this sport just as seriously as any of the others.

“We’ll treat it no different than football, baseball or any other sport,” Duffy said. “The end goal is we are trying to build a great experience for student-athletes while we grow our academic departments.”

Adrian College added 12 new academic programs last year to help increase the number of students on campus. Frank Hribar, Adrian College Vice President of Enrollment and Student Affairs, said the addition of this newest sport will definitely add to the overall experience at the college.

“There aren’t a lot of other colleges or universities that offer such a wide variety of academic and athletic programs,” Hribar said. “This new sport should receive a lot of attention and get additional students looking at Adrian College who otherwise may not have had an interest in coming to this area.”

The addition of the cornhole program increases the number of the Bulldogs’ sports teams to 50.

For more information about Adrian College and the programs it has to offer, visit

Adrian’s new athletic venture is a reflection of the many ways Michigan’s top 14 independent colleges and universities set themselves apart from bigger public institutions. They do this by encouraging students to forge success by following their own path. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

‘Hail Adrian!’ voted best fight song in NCAA Division III

Adrian Fight Song

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Bulldogs of all types are very dedicated to their families — especially Adrian College’s Bulldogs. When recently called on to support their college fight song, Adrian College’s students and alumni responded. The Bulldogs quickly recorded more than enough votes on D3Playbook’s Twitter account to make their fight song No. 1 in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III.

Adrian College’s “Hail Adrian!” rose to the top of the 32-school D3 Fight Song Madness bracket and was the winner over Heidelberg University’s “Victory March” by a margin of 55-45 percent in the finals, with almost 1,100 votes tallied.

The story behind Adrian College’s current fight song began in the fall of 1988 when Darin McNabb, Class of ’89, went to his band instructor and asked if he could write a new one. He was given the green light and the new song was a hit and played for the next couple of seasons before getting shelved. 

In 2007, McNabb heard the Bulldogs were creating a new marching band and asked the band director, Dr. Marty Marks, if he could rework his old fight song and create an updated version they could play. The idea was taken to Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking and he gave the go-ahead to update the song. Just a couple of months later, the marching band was proudly playing “Hail Adrian!”

McNabb said his inspiration for the song came from “The 40 Greatest College Fight Songs,” recorded by the University of Michigan marching band.

“If one listens closely to my new Adrian fight song, they can hear musical references to the fight songs of Northwestern, Wisconsin, Michigan State and the University of Michigan,” McNabb wrote in a 2008 Adrian College alumni magazine. “Yet, Hail Adrian! Is written to sound uniquely its own.”

McNabb went on to explain in the story that he wanted the words of the song to be non-gender and non-sport specific.

“I also wanted to promote a positive up-beat message that included references to school pride, school colors, a supportive crowd, and the Bulldog mascot,” he said in the article. “Finally, I wanted to be sure to include the words “heroes,” “champions,” and “victory,” to convey the concepts of excellence, pride and success, concepts I think Adrian College has always strived to instill in its graduates.

“I am so proud to know that my music will help create that great atmosphere found only at collegiate athletic events for many years to come,” McNabb said.

Hail Adrian!

Hail, hail to Adrian —

The home of the Black and the Gold!

Cheer, cheer for Adrian — 

Lift high your voices, proud and bold,

“Go, Dawgs, Go!”

Fight, fight for Adrian — 

And champions again we will be!

Our heroes will score,

and the crowd will roar,

“Another Bulldog victory!”

At Michigan’s 14 independent colleges and universities students forge success by following their own path.  The colleges are purposefully smaller and emphasize community over crowds.  Classes are taught by award-winning faculty rather than TAs, allowing students to forge tight bonds with professors.  Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

To learn more about Michigan’s top 14 private colleges and universities, visit our Colleges page.

Scholarships are available!  Enter the We Are The Independents scholarship drawing.

Adrian College finds overnight success in bass fishing


If you’re going to do something different, be the best. Do it big. And go all in. Especially when it comes to fishing.

That’s the lesson from Adrian College’s inaugural season in the surprisingly growing sport of varsity bass fishing.

Yes. You read that right. It’s OK to raise an eyebrow. Others did initially too. But no more. That’s because independent Adrian College is ranked #1 above huge schools such as Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin in Cabela’s College Bass Fishing rankings.

“When we let it be known we would be fielding a team, the reaction of some was, ‘Give me a break — bass fishing?’ But everyone has changed their tune now,” Adrian Bulldogs Athletic Director Mike Duffy told the Toledo Blade.

“It’s been a little overwhelming because things have taken a huge turn. I had hoped we could build the program and be real competitive in two or three years, but not right out of the gate.”

It may have all the makings of a movie pitch — Rocky Balboa meets David vs. Goliath on a Michigan lake — but success didn’t just happen by accident for Adrian.

It was cultivated and planned.

When Duffy decided last year to field a team, no expenses were spared. The school bought the best equipment and trailers, recruited top prospects and scoured the nation for a quality coach, Seth Borton, an Adrian native and Siena Heights graduate who fished in professional tournaments for more than a dozen years.

Varsity bass fishing is quietly becoming a big deal. Nationwide, there are 315 registered programs. Still, Adrian’s team drives up to 10 hours for tournament. That doesn’t stop team members from getting teased a bit.

“I come off the water a lot more tired and a lot more sore than I ever got playing football and playing basketball,” said Dalton Breckel, who won a junior fishing title in Michigan.

“I think everyone on the team has gotten a little bit of a fair share of razzing.”

That’s OK. Because following your passions and ignoring the naysayers is a specialty of Adrian College and Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities.

Along with bass fishing, Adrian offers other niche sports including synchronized skating and equestrian. Because college is about having the opportunity to try new things, discover your bliss and chart your own path.

The schools emphasize community over crowds and a spirit of togetherness and cohesion that just doesn’t exist at big state schools.

With low class sizes and award-winning faculty, the schools are proud that students forge lifelong bonds with professors.

Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.

Milk Jugs & Mascots: Siena Heights and Adrian Create Unique Cross Town Rivalry


One is Catholic. The other is Methodist. One dominates at basketball. The other has a football legacy rich in championships.

Separated by three miles, Siena Heights University and Adrian College have coexisted in Adrian for nearly 100 years. Tradition, faith and academic excellence run deep at both schools in south-central Michigan. Both are fiercely small and proud, so a long and colorful rivalry was inevitable.

Consider: In 2009, Siena Heights decided it needed a mascot. The school is known as the Saints. But that didn’t seem so fierce. So students voted on an alternative and came up with Halo the Husky, in part to thumb their nose at the Bulldogs of Adrian College.

“It’s kind of a shot at Adrian College, the bulldogs, because huskies are stronger and faster,” the student who submitted the winning suggestion said.

Lo and behold, Adrian got a new mascot the next year. A live bulldog named Bruiser.

Since the 1970s, the two schools have squared off every year in basketball for “The Battle of the Milk Jug.” The trophy is exactly what it sounds like — a giant, clunky, hand-painted milk jug featuring a basketball trophy with more than a few dents that the winner keeps for a year.

The Saints have dominated, winning 28 of 36 matchups since 1977, including all games from 1988 to 2002.

Adrian has built its sports tradition on football, forming a team in 1892. Along the way, it’s won 16 conference championships, most recently in 2012.

Siena Heights waited a couple years to form a football team. More than 100, in fact. The school fielded its first team in 2012, becoming the first Catholic college in Michigan to offer football scholarships.

Both schools pride themselves on strong academics, small class sizes and molding students. Siena was founded in 1919 by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and became co-ed in 1969. Priding itself as the first wireless campus in Michigan, the university has a world-renowned creative writing program and has satellite campuses in Southfield, Benton Harbor, Monroe, Lansing, Jackson and online.

Adrian was founded by Methodists in 1859. Its campus served as a base for Union soldiers during the Civil War. Its campus is a charming mix of new and old buildings and the school prides itself on strong academics, from accounting and business to mathematics and physics.

Both embody the unique experience offered at Michigan’s top 15 independent colleges and universities. The colleges are smaller and emphasize community over crowds. Often less expensive than public institutions, the independents boast higher four-year graduation rates and smaller class sizes for a truly unique and affordable experience.

Be bold. Be different. Go independent.