This year's hall of fame classes include some names quite familiar with not only Eastern Illinois and Illinois State fans, but names that resonate far beyond their respective universities.
Back in March, Eastern announced what it deemed its "powerhouse 2019 HOF Class" headlined by record-setting teammates Jimmy Garoppolo and Erik Lora (along with pole valuters Jade Riebold and Mick Viken).
The EIU official release noted that all four athletes earned both All-American and Ohio Valley Conference Athlete of the Year honors during their distinguished careers. The 2019 EIU Hall of Fame Ceremony will take place the weekend of Sept. 28 when the Panthers host Tennessee Tech.
During his four years at EIU (2010-13), Garoppolo set every school and OVC single season and career passing record. Garoppolo passed for 13,156 career yards with 118 touchdowns. During his senior season, Garoppolo helped lead the Panthers to a No. 2 national ranking as he passed for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns. Garoppolo would win the 2013 Walter Payton Award and be drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. Garoppolo won a pair of Super Bowl Championships while on the Patriots roster. He placed 10th in the Walter Payton Award voting as a junior and was the OVC Player of the Year as a senior. The Rolling Meadows High School graduate is currently the franchise quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
Lora (2009-13) was on the receiving end of many of Garoppolo's passes during his career as he was a two-time first team All-American while finishing fourth in voting for the Walter Payton Award in 2012. During that 2012 season Lora set the FCS record for receptions in a season finishing the year with 136 catches. Lora would finish his career as the EIU and OVC leader in both single season and career receptions, yards and touchdowns. As a senior in 2013 he helped lead the Panthers to a No. 2 national ranking signing as an undrafted free agent with the Minnesota Vikings. Lora spent time in camp with three NFL teams and is currently the Assistant Athletic Director for Development at EIU. Lora was the 2012 OVC Player of the Year as a junior while placing seventh in voting for the Walter Payton Award during his senior year.
Meanwhile, Illinois State waited 18 years for Kevin Glenn to retire from his illustrious Canadian Football League career before being able to tab the Detroit native for its hall of fame. The Redbird rationale was solid--for Glenn to be able to attend the event, which will be held Oct. 26 when ISU hosts Indiana State.
Glenn, who announced his pro football retirement in earlier this month, played at Illinois State from 1997 to 2000. He was well known as the first player in CFL history to have been a member of all nine teams.
The 40-year-old threw for nearly 53,000 yards along with 294 touchdowns in 268 career CFL contests. Glenn is considered to be a strong candidate for the Canadian Football Hall of Fame, retiring as the CFL’s sixth all-time leading passer with 52,867 yards.
Glenn threw for 8,251 yards in four seasons at Illinois State. According to a 2012 Peoria Journal-Star story by Kevin Capie, Glenn’s career numbers may have been nearly untouchable, but he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in 1999 as a junior and missed the bulk of the season, including the Redbirds’ run to the semifinals in the FCS playoffs.
In 2000 he was hampered by a hand injury and split playing time with Dusty Burk.
Upon graduation, Glenn held the single-season mark for yards, attempts and completions as a Redbird.
Glenn--a three-time all-conference selection--will be joined by Osiris Eldridge (basketball), Cathy (Olson) George (volleyball) and Kate Jean (golf) in the ISU hall of fame class.
Southern Illinois and Western Illinois are expected to name their hall of fame classes later this summer.