Craig Blanchard
Craig Blanchard
Title: Defensive Coordinator
Phone: (517) 607-3147
Tenure: 19th year at Hillsdale
Recruiting Territories: Indiana

Many of the football teams which Craig Blanchard has been involved during his life have been rivals of Hillsdale.  He serves as the Chargers’ defensive coordinator after spending four seasons as the team’s defensive backs coach.  Blanchard played his high school ball at nearby Jonesville High School, where he was named First-Team All-State in the 1976 season.

From there, Blanchard went on to play at Grand Valley State University, where he starred as a tailback and defensive back.  Blanchard netted First Team All-Conference honors for Grand Valley in 1980, his final two seasons with the Lakers.  He also led the team in interceptions both seasons.  Blanchard’s first college coaching stint at Hillsdale occurred between 1982 and 1984, when he was the secondary coach under Dick Lowry.  In his first season, his unit set a school record for interceptions in a season with 32.  Blanchard coached the outside linebackers at Eastern Michigan University in the 1986 season before taking a secondary position at Saginaw Valley State for six years.  Blanchard earned his bachelor’s degree in 1981 from Grand Valley State.

He later was the first defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Kalamazoo College, and the team's record with Blanchard of 7-2 was at the time, its best in 43 years.

Since returning to Hillsdale, Blanchard has guided the Charger defense to some memorable games and seasons by the team and its individual players. After going 11 years without a shutout, Blanchard’s defense has recorded shutouts in three of the past seven seasons, including the 2011 season finale, 42-0, over Tiffin. In 2011, the Charger defense ranked third in the GLIAC in points allowed, the best finish by the program since 2007. Hillsdale’s defense was No. 2 in the GLIAC in total defense that season, the best mark of Blanchard’s tenure.

Over the second half of the 2011 season, the Chargers allowed an average of 12.6 points per game, improving on its first half points allowed average by 19 points per game. In 2012, Hillsdale ranked third in scoring defense and second in total defense, establishing another new high-water mark in recent program history for the defensive side of the ball.

Blanchard's recruiting areas of emphasis are Cincinnati and the state of Indiana.

He resides in Hillsdale with his wife Melanie who is a home health nurse at the Hillsdale Community Health Center. They have four children: Lauren (33), Kathryn (32), Michael (28) and Aaron (26).  Lauren is a graduate of Adrian College, while Kathy graduated from the University of Indianapolis. Both played collegiate softball.  Michael recently completed a four-year career with the Charger football team as a wide receiver, and was named All-GLIAC and All-Region as a baseball player for the Chargers. Aaron was a football player at Adrian College.