Karen Sadler talks about the induction of her son, Mike, into the MSU Hall of Fame
East Lansing — For most Michigan State athletes, there is a 10-year waiting period from the end of their careers as Spartans until they are eligible for the school’s Hall of Fame.
That period was waived for former punter Mike Sadler, and on Thursday night at the Wharton Center, he was included in the induction ceremony for the 2016 class.
Sadler, 24, was killed in a car accident in late July as he and two others left a kicking camp in Wisconsin. Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, 22, also died in the crash while LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye, 21, was injured.
“He would have been so proud. So proud,” his mother, Karen Sadler, said before the induction ceremony. “Especially the fact they waived that 10-year waiting period. Just such a great compliment to him. … It’s just another credit to him.”
The waiting period was unanimously waived by the selection committee, athletic director Mark Hollis said on Thursday.
“The process was did Mike Sadler have the credentials to qualify for (induction) and that was, astoundingly, yes,” Hollis said. “So it was presented to the committee as something for them to consider. … I think it is something that is a value to all Spartans, not just the family. It gives everybody an opportunity to express when it needs to be expressed the positive value he had.”
Sadler’s credentials on the field were impressive. A first-team All-American in 2013 and a two-time selection as first-team All-Big Ten, Sadler’s career ended with him ranked among MSU’s all-time leaders in punts (second with 268), punting yards (second with 11,307) and punting average (sixth at 42.2).
But it was off the field where he truly excelled. Sadler is Michigan State’s only four-time Academic All-American and a plaque now honors him at the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center. He was also a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection (2011-14) and a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2012-13). In 2014, he was one of 17 finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which is given to the nation’s top scholar-athlete.
“All of the support from so many people across the country has just been so heartwarming,” Karen Sadler said. “It really has inspired us. … He left a wonderful legacy. He touched a lot of people.”
Karen Sadler admitted she didn’t realize how many people her son touched until after his death, but she was aware of his 26,000 Twitter followers. It was because of that social media platform that he was first called to Hollis’ office for a talking to.
It was the beginning of a close friendship between Hollis and Sadler.
“He was called into the principal’s office when it began,” Hollis said, admitting he still goes back to read some of Sadler’s funnier posts. “That first meeting lasted an hour-and-a-half just talking about life.”
Hollis said midfield at Spartan Stadium will have the No. 3 on it this Saturday, as it did for the celebration of Sadler’s life that was held at the stadium.
“We want to make sure that the world knows how much he and his family are valued at Michigan State,” Hollis said.
Also inducted on Thursday were Eric Allen (football/track & field), Don Behm (wrestling), Trevor Harris (soccer), Steve Juday (football/baseball), Anne Pewe Khademian (cross country/track & field), Ken Popejoy (cross country/track & field) and Patti Raduenz (softball).
The “Celebrate 2016” concludes with a special recognition of the Hall of Famers during the Michigan State-Wisconsin football game on Saturday.