Last fall, Illinois announced the formation of its very own athletics hall of fame, announcing at the same time that football legend Dick Butkus would be among the inaugural class of inductees.
Well, the Illini and Bears legend now has company — and plenty of it.
Illinois announced the full 28-member inaugural class for its Hall of Fame, and it is packed with famous names who have worn the orange and blue.
In addition to Butkus, who is arguably the greatest defensive football player of all time, Illini football is represented in the class by Dike Eddleman, Red Grange, George Halas, George Huff, Buddy Young and Robert Zuppke.
Dee Brown and Deron Williams, Illini basketball legends from the beloved 2004-05 team, are also members of the inaugural class, joined by fellow basketball alums Nick Anderson, Jerry Colangelo, Mannie Jackson and Andy Phillip.
Outside of the two most prominent college sports, Illinois' first Hall of Fame class claims 15 more members, including Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau, Olympic hurdler Tonja Buford-Bailey, women's athletics pioneer Karol Kahrs, Olympic gymnast Nancy Thies Marshall, Olympic sprinter Herb McKenley, Olympic wrestler Allie Morrison, Olympic high jumper and decathlete Harold Osborn and famed golfer Steve Stricker among others with impressive credentials.
"I would like to thank the selection committee for its work in identifying the members of this inaugural Hall of Fame class," Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman said in the announcement. "As you would expect, with more than 120 years of athletics excellence to consider, it was an incredibly difficult process to select this small, elite group. The Class of 2017 includes some of the greatest names in the history of American sports. Equally exciting, however, is that we have hundreds of additional candidates with Hall of Fame credentials. Although not everyone could be included in the first class, all who are deserving will one day be recognized with this special honor. Congratulations to the inaugural class of the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame."
The class will be introduced at a gala at the Field Museum on Friday, June 23. The induction will take place Saturday, Sept. 30, at the State Farm Center in Champaign.
Here's the complete list of inductees:
— Nick Anderson, basketball (1988-89)
— Lou Boudreau, baseball/basketball (1937-38)
— Dee Brown, basketball (2003-06)
— Tonja Buford-Bailey, track and field (1990-93)
— Dick Butkus, football (1962-64)
— Jerry Colangelo, basketball/contributor to sport (1960-62)
— Dwight "Dike" Eddleman, football/track/basketball (1943, 1947-49)
— Perdita Felicien, track and field (2000-03)
— Harry Gill, track coach (1904-29, 1931-33)
— Harold "Red" Grange, football (1923-25)
— Abie Grossfeld, gymnastics (1957-60)
— George Halas, football/basketball/baseball/contributor to sport (1916-18)
— George Huff, football/football coach/baseball coach/athletics director (1901-36)
— Mannie Jackson, basketball/contributor to sport (1958-60)
— Karol Kahrs, coach/athletics administration (1966-2000)
— Nancy Thies Marshall, gymnastics (1976-77)
— Herb McKenley, track and field (1946-47)
— Allie Morrison, wrestling (1927-29)
— Harold Osborn, track and field (1920-22)
— Andy Phillip, basketball/baseball (1942-43, 1947)
— Renee Heiken Slone, golf (1990-93)
— Steve Stricker, golf (1986-89)
— Mary Eggers Tendler, volleyball (1985-88)
— Craig Tiley, tennis coach (1992-2005)
— Craig Virgin, cross country (1973-77)
— Deron Williams, basketball (2003-05)
— Claude "Buddy" Young, football/track and field (1944, 1946)
— Robert Zuppke, football coach (1913-41)