Oxford's big man headed for Hall of Fame
July 13, 2011 - Eric Ghiaciuc, a 2000 graduate of Oxford High School and three sport standout in football, wrestling and track and field, is considered by many to be one of the most successful student-athletes in OHS history.
|Ghiaciuc (click for larger version)|
Now his accomplishments will be permanently remembered as a selection of the 2011 Hall of Fame class.
"It's an honor; it's a privilege and it's really exciting to think that the community you grew up in thinks highly of you to want to nominate me for something like that." Ghiaciuc said. "I'm pretty honored to be honest with you."
Ghiaciuc also thought it was "pretty cool" to be inducted the same year as OHS varsity football coach Bud Rowley.
Although he was an outstanding athlete for the track and field squad, Ghiaciuc made his mark at OHS on the gridiron and wrestling mat.
Ghiaciuc's size, (6'4. 303 lbs.) made him a fixture on the offensive line. However, Oxford went 5-4 during his freshman and sophomore seasons. It wasn't until 1998 that Ghiaciuc and the Wildcats caught fire.
Oxford lost their home opener that season, but went on to claim the Flint Metro League title and Michigan High School Athletic Association regional championship. However, they lost to Farmington Harrison in the MHSAA Class A semi-final, finishing with a 10-2 record.
In 1999, the Wildcats went 9-0 in the regular season, claiming another FML championship before losing to Flint Powers Catholic in the district finals.
"Those playoff teams I was a part of my junior and senior seasons...everybody was on the same page as far as work that needed to be done, the preparation that needed to be done, the goals that we set out to achieve and actually going out and achieving them game after game after game," Ghiaciuc said.
He was named to the All-FML, All-County, All-Metro Detroit and All-State class A. He was also ranked as Michigan's 37th-best prospect by the Detroit News.
Ghiaciuc came into his own as a wrestler during the 1998-99 season.
He would advance to the MHSAA state championship match in the 275 lb. division before losing to Mason's Levi Rice.
The following year, he advanced to the division two state finals and captured his first individual state title with a dominating 14-1 win over Dan Heintz of Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
"It was a privilege of a lifetime, and I say the word privilege because not everyone can wrestle and not everyone can be good at it, and I had great coaching that taught me a lot," Ghiaciuc said.
Ghiaciuc attributes his "tough teammates, tough coaching and tough training" for his success during his four years at OHS.
"There was never anything about my training or anything about my coaches that was easy," he added.
Several schools wanted Ghiaciuc's services, but he chose accept a scholarship to play football at Central Michigan University. Ghiaciuc redshirted in 2000 and saw limited action in 2001 before taking over the starting center role in 2002.
He would start the next 37 games for CMU and anchored an offensive line that produced a 1,000 yard rusher in each of the three seasons he started, and 105 touchdowns.
He graduated in 2005 with a 3.30 grade point average with a degree in Industrial Education. He was selected to play in the 2005 Hula Bowl before being drafted in the fourth round (119th overall) of the National Football League draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.
As a pro, Ghiaciuc started 42 of the 48 games he played and has recovered two fumbles. Ghiaciuc has been a member of six different NFL franchises, including the Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.
He currently lives in Weidman, Michigan.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.