New Illini Athletics HOF Class Announced; Still No Quarterbacks


Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke, 1995 Butkus Award winner Kevin Hardy and long-time NBA star Derek Harper headline 15-person Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Class for 2020. The class, which was announced just minutes ago, includes athletes and coaches from nine different sports and covers athletes from 1901 through 2013.

It’s only the fourth such class in Illini athletics history and when you look at the full class, aggregated with the previous three, you have plenty of snubs to point out. (And we’ll do that in another post shortly). What’s most glaring here? Still not a single quarterback in the hall yet.

It’s only the single most individual position in all of team sports. Plus the Illini had a dominant run of signal callers in the 1980s. Not to mention the early 2000s, when they had a guy taking snaps who was arguably the best in U of I history.

Oh, well, maybe next year? I mean you have to spread everybody out to some extent- Can’t have everyone in the same class/first couple classes, right?

2020 Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Class in Full 

Michelle Bartsch-Hackey, Volleyball

Tal Brody, Basketball

Vanessa DiBernardo, Soccer

Moe Gardner, Football

Kevin Hardy, Football

Derek Harper, Basketball

Leo Johnson, Track & Field Coach

Gia Lewis-Smallwood, Track and Field

Ray Nitschke, Football

Bob Richards, Track & Field

Art Schankin, Fencing

Jenna Smith, Basketball

Jake Stahl, Baseball/Football

Adam Tirapelle, Wrestling

Don Tonry, Gymnastics

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC and Chicago on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link

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