Illinois Announces Nancy Brookhard Cherin To 2018 Hall Of Fame Class

  0 volleymob | February 22nd, 2018 | Big East, College - Women's Indoor, News

Press Release courtesy of Illinois Athletics

The University of Illinois continues celebration of its incredible athletics legacy by announcing its Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Some of the greatest names in Illini sports history comprise the 21-person Class of 2018, including coaches and record-holders from 12 different sports.

“On behalf of the University and Fighting Illini Athletics, we offer our most heartfelt congratulations to the 2018 class of the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame,” said Director of Athletics Josh Whitman. “These men and women represent all that we value at Illinois, including integrity, work ethic, sportsmanship, and excellence. Individually and collectively, their accomplishments, both on our campus and across the world of sport, are the stuff of legend. We look forward to honoring their legacies in June at our gala event in Chicago and this fall at the induction ceremonies here in Champaign.”

National hall of famers, Olympians, national champions, multi-sport stars and All-Americans dominate this list of legendary Fighting Illini names. There are 14 living members of the class, broken down to 10 men and four women.

Long-time men’s basketball coach Lou Henson was announced as the first member of the Class of 2018 at the Hall of Fame Gala held in Chicago last summer. Other coaches joining Henson in this class are “Mr. Illini” Ray Eliot from football and hockey, four-time NCAA-champion gymnastics coach Charles Pond and 17-time Big Ten champion fencing coach Maxwell Garrett.

Women’s athletics were added at the varsity level in 1974, 84 years after the UI Athletic Association was formed in 1890. Women in the Class of 2018 include track and field stars Tonya Williams and Celena Mondie-Milner, volleyball’s Nancy Brookhart Cherin, and soccer’s Tara Hurless.

Multi-sport athletes in this class are Alex Agase, who was a three-time All-American football player, while earning two letters as a wrestler, and Charles Carney, who was a basketball national player of the year and is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to Carney and Henson, men’s basketball has representatives from the 1950s, 1960s and 1980s in John “Red” Kerr, Dave Downey and Kendall Gill, respectively. Carney, Kerr and Downey all ended their Illini careers as the school’s all-time leading scorer. Henson is still Illinois’ winningest coach.

From the gridiron, in addition to the legendary Agase, Carney and Eliot, class members include Jim Grabowski and Dana Howard. All four players are members of the College Football Hall of Fame, with Howard being inducted in 2018.

Baseball player Darrin Fletcher, track sprinter Willie Williams, current tennis pro Kevin Anderson, pro golfer Scott Langley, gymnast Justin Spring and wrestler Joe Sapora represent their respective sports.

The 2018 Hall of Fame Gala, held again this year at the Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago, is scheduled for Friday, June 15. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place Saturday, Sept. 22 at State Farm Center on the UI campus.

For Gala sponsorship and ticket information, please contact the Office of Athletic Development at 217-333-2875.

2018 Hall of Fame Members

Alex Agase, Football/ Wrestling

Kevin Anderson, Men’s Tennis

Nancy Brookhart Cherin, Volleyball

Charles Carney, Football / Men’s Basketball

Dave Downey, Men’s Basketball

Ray Eliot, Football Coach / Hockey Coach

Darrin Fletcher, Baseball

Maxwell Garret, Fencing Coach

Kendall Gill, Men’s Basketball

Jim Grabowski, Football

Lou Henson, Men’s Basketball Coach

Dana Howard, Football

Tara Hurless, Women’s Soccer

John “Red” Kerr, Men’s Basketball

Scott Langley, Men’s Golf

Celena Mondie-Milner, Women’s Track & Field

Charles Pond, Men’s Gymnastics Coach

Joe Sapora, Wrestling

Justin Spring, Men’s Gymnastics

Tonya Williams, Women’s Track & Field

Willie Williams, Men’s Track & Field

2018 Hall of Fame Bios

Alex Agase, Football (1941-42, 46) / Wrestling (1942-43)

Alex Agase was a three-time All-American, with recognition at Illinois in 1942 and 1946, and at Purdue in 1943. Inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1963, Agase was named in 1989 to the Walter Camp Foundation All-Century Team. After starting his career as an All-American guard at Illinois in 1942, he joined the U.S. Marines in 1943 and was assigned to Purdue as part of the V-12 training program where he again earned All-American honors. After a decorated (Purple Heart and Bronze Star) two-year stint in the Marines while serving in the Pacific Theatre during battles at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, Agase returned to Illinois and earned Consensus First-Team All-America honors while helping lead the Fighting Illini to a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl victory. He earned All-Big Ten honors three times, and was the Big Ten Silver Football Award winner in 1946 as the Most Valuable Player of the conference. Agase also served as captain of the UI wrestling team in 1942 and 1943 while competing as a heavyweight. He played six seasons in the All-America Football Conference and the National Football League, winning three league titles with the Cleveland Browns. Agase enjoyed a lengthy Big Ten coaching career, first as a head coach at Northwestern from 1964-72 and Purdue from 1973-76. Agase passed away in 2007 at the age of 85.

Kevin Anderson, Men’s Tennis (2005-07)

Kevin Anderson won the 2006 NCAA doubles title (with Ryan Rowe) and earned All-America honors each of his three seasons at Illinois. In addition to winning a national doubles title, Anderson reached the NCAA singles semi-finals and doubles final in 2007, while leading the Illini team to a national runner-up finish. He was a three-time First-Team All-Big Ten selection and the 2007 Big Ten Tennis Athlete of the Year. Anderson also was named the Fighting Illini Dike Eddleman Male Athlete of the Year in 2007. A native of South Africa, Anderson has climbed to a professional world ranking of No. 11, and is the only Fighting Illini alum to win a spot in a Grand Slam final, which he earned at the U.S. Open in 2017. Anderson is currently playing on the ATP World Tour and resides in Gulf Stream, Florida.

Nancy Brookhart Cherin, Volleyball (1986-89)

Nancy Brookhart Cherin was second-team All-American three times from 1987-89, helping lead the Fighting Illini to back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances in 1987 and 1988. Teaming with fellow Illini Hall of Famer Mary Eggers, Illinois won Big Ten titles in 1986, 1987 and 1988 with a combined conference record of 53-1 over the three seasons. In 1987, she shared the Big Ten Most Valuable Player honor with Eggers and was named to the NCAA Mideast Regional All-Tournament Team in ’87 as well. Brookhart Cherin was named First-Team All-Big Ten three times from 1987-89. The Illini advanced to the NCAA Regional Final in 1989. During her four seasons, Illinois combined for an overall record of 124-22, with two Big Ten titles, two Final Four appearances and two other NCAA Regional Final appearances. Brookhart Cherin currently resides in Long Beach, California.

Chuck Carney, Football / Men’s Basketball (1918-22)

One of the greatest dual-sport athletes in Fighting Illini history, Chuck Carney was a national star in both football and basketball, earning the Helms Foundation National Player of the Year in basketball in 1922. He is the only Fighting Illini athlete, and first in the Big Ten, to earn consensus All-America honors in both football (1920) and basketball (1920 and 1922). Carney was an outstanding end for Bob Zuppke’s football team and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1966. He is also a member of the Helms Foundation College Basketball Hall of Fame. A three-time first-team all-conference selection as a basketball player, he set the Big Ten Conference single-season scoring record (188 points) that stood for 22 years. Carney is also a member of Illinois All-Century Teams for both football and basketball. Carney died in 1984 at the age of 84.

Dave Downey, Men’s Basketball (1961-63)

Dave Downey showed incredible leadership on the floor, in the classroom, and later, in his professional career. A member of the Illinois All-Century basketball team, he set the Illini single-game scoring record of 53 points at Indiana in 1963, which still stands. Downey helped lead Illinois to the 1963 Big Ten championship, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors that year after being named second-team All-Big Ten in both 1961 and 1962. He also earned first-team All-America honors from the Helms Foundation in 1963. Downey was the Illini team MVP all three seasons on the varsity, was an Academic All-American and earned Illinois’ Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1963. His 18.9 career scoring average ranks fourth in school history, and his 11.0 career rebounding average ranks third in UI history. He finished his time at Illinois as the school’s career leader in points (1,360) and rebounds (790). During a long and distinguished professional business career, Downey has served on numerous leadership boards, including the UI Board of Trustees. Downey currently resides in Champaign.

Ray Eliot, Football Coach (1942-59) / Hockey Coach 1937-39

Nicknamed “Mr. Illini,” Ray Eliot was one of the most popular and inspirational personalities in Fighting Illini history. He served as head football coach from 1942-1959, compiling a record of 83-73-11 during his 18 seasons. Illinois won Big Ten championships in 1946, 1951 and 1953, and were bestowed National Champion honors in 1951 with a 9-0-1 record and 40-7 victory over Stanford in the 1952 Rose Bowl. Born Ray Eliot Nussspickel, he lettered as a guard for the Illini football team in 1930 and 1931, and in 1930 with the baseball team. He also coached Fighting Illini hockey from 1937-39 as the program’s first head coach. Eliot’s 1946 football team was the first Big Ten squad to play in Rose Bowl after the agreement to pit the Big Ten and Pacific Coast Conference champions against each other in Pasadena. Eliot was a dynamic speaker who was best known for his inspiring speech “The Proper State of Mind.” Following his coaching career, he served the UI as an associate athletics director and interim athletics director, as well as an incredible Illini ambassador. Eliot died in 1980 at the age of 74.

Darrin Fletcher, Baseball (1985-87)

Darrin Fletcher earned First-Team All-America honors in 1987 after setting an Illinois hitting record of .497 batting average that still stands today. A catcher during his career, Fletcher earned All-Big Ten honors in both 1985 and 1986, and first-team recognition in 1987. A native of nearby Oakwood, Ill., he was the team’s MVP in 1986 and 1987, while being named the Big Ten Player of the Year in 1987. Fletcher was drafted in the sixth round of the 1987 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers and enjoyed a 14-year big league career with the Dodgers, Phillies, Expos and Blue Jays. He made one MLB All-Star Game appearance in 1994 as a member of the Expos, and finished with a career batting average of .269 with 124 home runs. His best batting season came in 2000 when he hit .320 with 20 homers for the Blue Jays. Darrin was the middle of three generations of Fletchers to play baseball at Illinois, following his father, Tom (1962), and preceding his son, Casey (2014-15). His grandfather, Glenn, also played minor league baseball player. Fletcher currently lives in Oakwood.

Maxwell Garret, Fencing Coach (1941-72)

Maxwell Garret earned a spot in the U.S. Fencing Hall of Fame after building an incredible record as one of the nation’s top fencing coaches and as one of the leading internationally ranked fencing officials. More commonly known as “Mac,” he became the head fencing coach at Illinois in 1940 while working on his Master of Science degree before his career was interrupted by World War II. During his four years in the U.S. Army Air Force, Mac served as Special Service and Information Office, putting together a variety show that sold $1.5 million in war bonds. During his 28 years as head fencing coach at Illinois, the Illini won 17 Big Ten championships, two NCAA championships and only once ranked lower than second place in the Big Ten. Garret compiled an all-time record of 245-71-1 at Illinois, while coaching 28 All-Americans. He was inducted into the Helms Hall of Fame for Fencing in 1956 and the City College of New York Athletic Hall of Fame in 1974. As the UI developed a nationally recognized wheelchair sports program, Mac developed the first U.S. fencing program for students with disabilities and coached the first U.S. wheelchair fencing team that brought home medals from the Paralympics. In 1969, he took a year’s leave of absence from the UI to serve as the Director of the Academy for Fencing Teachers in Israel and as National Coach of the State of Israel. Following the 1972 season, Garret moved to Penn State as head coach, leading the Nittany Lions to six conference championships and third place at the NCAA Championships in 1979. After retiring as a coach in 1982, Mac went on to serve as an internationally ranked fencing official and was very involved in helping coordinate fencing competition at the 1996 Olympics and Paralympics. Garret died in 2013 at the age of 95.

Kendall Gill, Men’s Basketball (1987-90)

Kendall Gill will forever be remembered as a high-flying member of the 1989 Flyin’ Illini squad that advanced to the Final Four. In 1990, as a senior, he earned consensus Second-Team All-America honors, which included First-Team recognition by UPI, and First-Team All-Big Ten honors. Gill averaged exactly 20.0 points per game to lead the Big Ten in scoring in 1990. He was the first 20-points-per-game scorer in 16 years for Illinois. Gill ranks third in school history in steals with 218. After his stellar senior season, Gill was the fifth overall pick of the 1990 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He scored 12,914 points in his 15-year NBA career that included stops with seven different teams, for an average of 13.4 points per game. He led the NBA in steals in 1999. Gill currently lives in Chicago and serves as a basketball television analyst for the Bulls.

Jim Grabowski, Football (1963-65)

Jim Grabowski finished his Illinois career as the all-time Big Ten rushing leader with 2,878 yards. A punishing runner, Grabowski was consensus first-team All-America and was third in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1965 after finishing second in the nation with 1,258 yards. He was a two-time Academic All-America selection and the 1966 Big Ten Medal of Honor and 1965 Silver Football Award winner recipient.  In 1993, Grabowski was inducted into the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame. Grabowski earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 1963, and first-team honors in both 1964 and 1965. He was inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, honoring his 125-yard MVP effort in Illinois’ 17-7 victory over Washington in the 1964 Rose Bowl. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995. Grabowski went on to a six-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears, playing in two Super Bowls for Coach Vince Lombardi. He was the first overall pick of the 1966 AFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins and the ninth overall pick by the Packers in the NFL Draft. Grabowski currently resides in Inverness, Illinois.

Lou Henson, Men’s Basketball Coach (1975-96)

Lou Henson’s legendary career spanned 41 years at three programs and he stands as the winningest coach at both New Mexico State and Illinois. During his legendary 21-year career in charge of the Orange and Blue, Henson amassed a 423-224 record, highlighted by 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, a total of 15 postseason bids, and eleven 20-win seasons. Illinois basketball was one of the nation’s most dominant programs during Henson’s tenure, earning a top-5 seed in the NCAA Tournament seven straight years from 1984 through 1990. Henson’s Illini won the 1984 Big Ten Championship and advanced to the Elite Eight. His most successful season came with the Flyin’ Illini, who won a then-school record 31 games and advanced to the 1989 NCAA Final Four. Henson ranks fifth all-time among Big Ten coaches in both total wins (423) and conference wins (214). In all, Henson won 779 games; ranking 16th on the all-time NCAA wins list, and 11th all-time among coaches with at least 10 years spent in Division I. He is one of only four coaches in NCAA history to record 200-plus wins at two DI schools, totaling 423 at Illinois and 289 at New Mexico State. He also stands as one of just 14 coaches to lead two different teams to the Final Four. Henson was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015 and the playing floor at State Farm Center was officially dedicated as Lou Henson Court on Dec. 2, 2015. Lou and Mary Henson currently reside in Champaign.

Dana Howard, Football (1991-94)

Dana Howard finished his Fighting Illini career as the Big Ten’s all-time leader in tackles with 595 stops from 1991-94. He earned consensus First-Team All-America honors and was named the Butkus Award winner in 1994, becoming the first Illini football player to win a major national award. Howard also earned several first-team All-America mentions in 1993, and was first-team All-Big Ten three times after earning second-team honors as a freshman in 1991. He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in both 1993 and 1994. A model of consistency, Howard made 147 tackles in 1991, 150 in 1992 and 1994 and 148 stops in 1993. He holds the top two spots, and three of the top four, in single-game solo tackles at Illinois. A fifth-round NFL Draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys, Howard played with the St. Louis Rams in 1995 and spent one seasons with the Chicago Bears in 1996. Howard will be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018. A native of East St. Louis, Illinois, he currently lives and owns a construction company in the St. Louis Metro East area.

Tara Hurless, Women’s Soccer (2001-04)

Tara Hurless was a two-time Second-Team All-American for the Fighting Illini women’s soccer team, and finished her career as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 47 goals, a mark that lasted 11 years. She was named First-Team All-Great Lakes Region twice in 2003 and 2004, and was second-team in 2002. Hurless was named First-Team All-Big Ten in 2003 and 2004 after being named to the second-team in 2002. She was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team in 2001, 2003 and 2004, earning offensive MVP honors at the tournament in 2003. Hurless was the Illini’s offensive MVP all four years. After helping lead the 2003 squad to the Big Ten Tournament title, Hurless led the Illini into the NCAA Elite Eight in 2004. Hurless currently lives in Mahomet, Illinois.

John “Red” Kerr, Men’s Basketball (1952-54)

Johnny “Red” Kerr earned Big Ten Silver Basketball honors in 1954 and First-Team All-Big Ten recognition that season after averaging 25.3 points per game, which remains the second-best scoring average in school history. He finished his Illini career as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,299 points, and earned second-team All-Big Ten recognition as a sophomore and junior. Kerr was also the team’s MVP and captain in 1954. The big redhead was named to the 1952 NCAA Final Four All-Tournament team. Kerr played for Syracuse in the NBA from 1955-63, for Philadelphia in 1964 and 1965 and at Baltimore in 1966. He finished his career with 12,480 points and 10,092 rebounds, along with an NBA record for most consecutive games played (844) until surpassed in 1983. Following his playing career, Kerr served as head coach three-plus seasons with the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns before enjoying a long broadcasting career with the Suns and Bulls. He was named to the Illinois All-Century Basketball Team in 2005. Kerr died in 2009 at the age of 76.

Scott Langley, Men’s Golf (2008-11)

Scott Langley was a three-time All-American for the Illini men’s golf team and put together an incredible season in 2010 that saw him become the first Illini win medalist honors at the NCAA Championship. He was also named Big Ten Golfer of the Year in 2010 and was a three-time All-Big Ten selection. Langley was an All-Midwest Region selection in 2009, 2010 and 2011. He earned First-Team All-America honors in 2010, Second-Team All-America honors in 2009 and was honorable-mention in 2011. Langley was Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008. He was an Arnold Palmer Cup participant in 2010. He was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree and GCAA All-America Scholar in 2010 and 2011. Langley turned pro in 2011 and earned his PGA card in 2013, earning more than $3 million during his pro career so far. He has 20 Top 25 finishes on the PGA Tour to his credit, including two finishes in the top three and one tournament victory. He and his family currently call Scottsdale, Arizona, home.

Celena Mondie-Milner, Women’s Track and Field (1987-90)

Celena Mondie-Milner was an 18-time All-American, while winning an incredible 17 Big Ten individual and relay titles. One of the Big Ten Conference’s most dominating sprinters ever, Mondie-Milner is Illinois’ all-time top performer in the 55 meters, 200 meters and 300 yards indoor, and the 200 meters and 400 meters outdoor. A four-year All-Big Ten selection from 1987-90, she was selected as Athlete of the Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships in 1990. Mondie-Milner finished second in the 100 meters at the 1990 NCAA Outdoor Championships and took third in the 200 meters. She set Big Ten outdoor records in the 100 meters (11.34), 200 meters (22.66) and 400 meters (51.14), and Big Ten indoor records in the 55 meters (6.73) and 200 meters (23.33).  Mondie-Milner was a member of the Illinois 4×400-meter relay team that set American and NCAA records, and was on Illini teams which won the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in 1988 and 1989, and the Big Ten Indoor Championship in 1988. She won the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 1990. Mondie-Milner was a member of the United State team at the 1997 World Championships and took third in the 100 meters and 200 meters at the 1995 USA Track and Field Championships. She won a gold medal at the 1995 world championships for running a leg on the U.S. 4×100-meter relay team, while also competing in the 200 meters. Mondie-Milner was a unanimous selection to the Big Ten Women’s Outdoor Track All-Decade team in 1992. She currently lives in Austin, Texas, where she serves as director of New Student Services at the University of Texas.

Charles Pond, Men’s Gymnastics Coach (1949-73)

Charles Pond won an incredible 11-consecutive Big Ten championships and four NCAA team titles from 1950-60 during a 25-year run as head coach of the Fighting Illini. He compiled an overall record of 319-152 (.677) and dual-meet record of 150-78 (.658) at Illinois. Pond started his career at Illinois as an assistant for one season before continuing as head coach for the next 25 years. He coached 107 men and women to national, Olympic and world titles. Pond coached six men and four women Olympians. A versatile athlete at Hardin-Simmons, he was a cheerleader, won gold in the Golden Gloves Welterweight Division (1938) and played on the Hardin-Simmons football team. Pond was an associate men’s coach and assistant women’s coach for the U.S. Olympic team in 1956. He developed the Pond Twisting Belt, which was one of the most valuable pieces of gymnastics safety equipment ever produced. Pond was inducted into the U.S. Gymnastics Hall of Fame in 1966. He died in 2003 at the age of 88.

Joe Sapora, Wrestling (1928-30)

Joe Sapora was Illinois’ first two-time NCAA Champion, Big Ten Champion and All-American at 115 pounds during the 1929 and 1930 seasons. He later captured two Amateur Athletic Union titles for the New York Athletic Club. Sapora went on to coach wrestling at City College in New York from 1932 to 1968. During his 36 years at City College, Sapora helped steer Henry Wittenberg to the heavyweight gold medal in the 1948 Olympics, and led Jacob Twersky, a blind wrestler, to the NCAA finals in 1942. He was inducted into the Helms Foundation Hall of Fame in 1994 and is a member of the CCNY Hall of Fame. Sapora died in 1992 at the age of 87.

Justin Spring, Men’s Gymnastics (2003-06)

Justin Spring was a four-time NCAA individual champion and 13-time All-American during his sterling Illini career. The 2006 Nissan-Emery Award winner as the nation’s outstanding senior gymnast, Spring also was named the Big Ten Gymnast of the Year that season and won three Big Ten individual titles during his career. He finished as a three-time First-Team All-Big Ten honoree and won the Dike Eddleman Illinois Male Athlete of the Year twice (2004 and 2006). He finished his Illini career with school records on floor exercise, vault, parallel bars and high bar. While at Illinois in 2005, Spring became the first Illini gymnast to win a national title at the Visa Championships, winning the gold on high bar. He repeated his high bar national title in 2007, while also finishing as silver medalist on floor exercise. Spring went on to win the national title again on parallel bars at the 2008 Visa Championships. He is a five-time U.S. Senior National Team member and helped the 2008 U.S. Olympic team to a bronze medal at the Beijing Games. Spring is currently head men’s gymnastics coach at Illinois, leading the Illini to the 2012 NCAA Championship, and resides in Champaign with his family.

Tonya Williams, Women’s Track & Field (1993-96)

Tonya Williams was a two-time NCAA champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 1995 and 1996, setting an NCAA Championships meet record of 54.56 in 1996. A 14-time All-American (second-most in Illini women’s track history), she also finished second in the 100-meter hurdles in the 1996 NCAA Championships and third in that event in 1995. Williams also ran on Illinois 4×100-meter relay teams that finished third at both the 1995 and 1996 NCAA Outdoor Championships. She won an impressive 20 Big Ten championships, 10 each in individual events and relays, second-most behind fellow Illini Hall-of-Famer Tonja Buford-Bailey. Williams was the Illinois Dike Eddleman Female Athlete of the Year in both 1995 and 1996 and the Big Ten Track and Field Female Athlete of the Year in 1996. She is listed among Illinois’ top five performers in history in the indoor 200m, 600m, 55m hurdles and 4x400m relay, and outdoor in the 100m hurdles, 400m hurdles, 4x100m relay, 4x200m relay, 4×400 relay, sprint medley relay and the shuttle hurdle relay. Williams currently resides in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Willie Williams, Men’s Track & Field (1952-54)

Willie Williams enjoyed incredible success during his collegiate track career, winning seven individual Big Ten sprint titles, but his greatest notoriety came in 1956 at the National Military Track Meet in Berlin, Germany. Williams made history, becoming the World’s Fastest Human after breaking his hero Jesse Owens’ world record in the 100-meter dash at 10.1 seconds, in the same stadium and in the very same lane that Owens had run as a gold medal winner at the 1936 Olympic Games. Williams won NCAA sprint titles in the 100-yard dash in 1953 and 1954, and earned three All-America honors. He was a nine-time Big Ten individual sprint and hurdle champion indoor and outdoor from 1952-54, claiming indoor titles in the 60-yard dash (1953-54) and 70-yard hurdles (1952-53), and outdoors winning three times in the 220-yard dash and twice in the 100-yard dash (1963-54). While competing at Illinois, he was also a part of six consecutive conference indoor and outdoor championship teams. Williams was also an assistant track coach at Illinois from 1982-2000, and invented several speed training devices. The Illini won six straight conference titles (indoor and outdoor) from 1987-89. The Gary, Indiana, native also coached Gary West Side High School to five Indiana state track and field titles between 1974 and 1980. Williams currently resides in Highland, Indiana.

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