Eight EIU connections in the Grand Illiana Hall of Fame

Several former athletes from eastern Illinois have been inducted into the new Grand Illiana Sports Hall of Fame in Danville, which will be housed in the David Palmer Arena.

The inaugural class was announced in late spring with the induction program originally scheduled for June. The event is postponed to 2022 and will display the plaques of each inductee at the Arena.

“The Greater Illiana Sports Hall of Fame is designed to honor the outstanding athletic achievements of athletes, coaches, teams and others from 50 high schools and Danville Area Community College in eastern Ontario. Illinois and western Indiana.

The inaugural class features several household names from the region, eight of them with ties to Eastern Illinois Athletics.
1) Kristin McBride (EIU Swimming).
2) Kyle O’Brien (EIU CC and athletics).
3) Roger Beals (EIU Basketball / being inducted as HS Basketball and CC Coach of Chrisman HS … has coached the IHSA CC Championship Men’s and Women’s teams).
4) Virgil Sweet (EIU Basketball / being inducted as an HS basketball player and coach in Indiana … the Indiana High School Association’s annual distinguished service basketball award is named after him).
5) Jim Richards (EIU Gymnastics / being inducted HS wrestling coach and Hoopeston referee).
6) Gabe Spezia (EIU Athletics).
7) Mike Hatfield (EIU CC and Athletics).
8) Clayton Miller (1942 EIU Head Football Coach and 1942-43 EIU Head Basketball Coach / being inducted as HS Football and Basketball Coach in Westville IL … credited with coaching the first game Football Night HS in US History / 1928).

Five of the EIU connections are currently in the EIU Sports Hall of Fame – O’Brien, Beals, Sweet, Spezia and Hatfield.

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