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Eric Brand Inducted into NAIA Hall of Fame

 

Kansas City, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced 21 honorees with the association’s highest individual honors as part of its annual NAIA National Awards Day on September 15, 2017. Among those honored was former men’s basketball standout Eric Brand. Brand was inducted into the NAIA’s Hall of Fame, the highest honor presented by the association.

 

A native of Bloomington, Ind., Eric Brand helped Bethel College (Ind.) to an unbelievable 135-22 overall record during his four years on campus, leading the Pilots to two NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championships (1997, 1998) and another NAIA National Championship runner-up finish (1999).

 

Brand is the Pilots’ all-time leading scorer (2,696 points) and also holds three other career records at Bethel, including field goals made (1,018), free throws made (659) and games played (157). He was a three-time NAIA All-America selection (1998 – Honorable Mention; 1999 – Second Team; 2000 – First Team), a two-time NAIA National Championship All-Tournament Team selection (1998, 1999) and a three-time first team All-Conference selection in the Crossroads League.

 

Following his standout career at Bethel College, Brand played professionally in Europe and the United State for seven years, winning the International Basketball League Championship in 2006 while also being named the IBL Most Valuable Player (2006). Brand was inducted into the Bethel College Hall of Fame in 2003 and also had his Pilots’ No. 55 jersey retired.

 

After his playing days were done, Brand’s love for the game has seen him in a number of coaching positions, including his alma mater, Bethel College, as well as New Mexico State University, Baylor University and Texas State University. Brand recently nabbed his first head coaching job as he took over the program at Riley High School in South Bend, Ind.

 

“What a tremendous honor for both Eric and Bethel basketball,” stated Head Coach Ryne Lightfoot. “Eric’s career at Bethel is an example of what it takes to be successful. His hard work, dedication, perseverance, player development, and commitment to excellence represents not only who he is as a player but what our program stands for as a whole. His accomplishments speak for themselves. Eric was a great player and a great teammate–I’m excited to share in celebration of his achievement but more honored to call him a friend.”

 

Brand is the third Pilot to be named to the Hall of Fame, joining former men’s basketball coach Mike Lightfoot who was inducted in 2009, and Rico Swanson who was inducted in 2015.

The annual NAIA National Awards Day highlighted achievements of NAIA student-athletes, administrators and coaches were recognized, as well as the introduction of eight outstanding athletes and coaches who will be inducted into the 2017-18 NAIA Hall of Fame Class.

 

The Hall of Fame Award is the highest honor presented by the association. Nominees must have outstanding character and leadership ability, and be held in high esteem by their colleagues, former coaches and athletes. The Hall of Fame consists of an athlete and coach category for each sport and a category for general meritorious service.