Mike Pearson

Mike Pearson

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Nov. 4, 2018

This Thursday, as Brad Underwood enters his second season as head coach of the Illinois men's basketball team, he does so with a roster of players that features nine freshmen and sophomores, and a 2018-19 schedule stacked with 16 opponents that racked up at least 20 victories.

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Oct. 28, 2018

Fifty-two years ago this week—Oct. 29, 1966— Illinois defensive back Phil Knell set a school record by intercepting three passes from Purdue quarterback Bob Griese. The former Mahomet-Seymour star wound up with a total of seven picks that season, earning second-team All-Big Ten honors.

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Oct. 21, 2018

Knowledgeable Illini basketball fans know that Deon Thomas tops Illinois' career scoring list, a mark that was set 25 years ago. Most of UI's top 50 scorers — 33 altogether — played prior to the year 2000, but, thanks in part to multiple three-point field goals, a somewhat surprising 17 of the 21st century Illini have shot their way onto the ledger.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Oct. 14, 2018

On this date 57 years ago — October 14, 1961— Illini senior linebacker Tony Parrilli recorded 22 tackles, but he and his team fell by a score of 44-0 to host Ohio State in both team's Big Ten season opener at Columbus. The Buckeyes went on to an 8-0-1 record and finished second in the national rankings.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Oct. 7, 2018

Twenty-nine years ago today, on a new and freshly painted AstroTurf surface at Memorial Stadium, 18th-ranked Illinois defeated Ohio State for the second consecutive season. When Illini quarterback Jeff George went down with a knee injury after a first-quarter sack by Ohio State’s Aaron Spellman, Illini hopes turned desperate.

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Erin Borske Gray

Twenty-three years ago today— Sept. 23, 1995 —sophomore Erin (Borske) Gray shattered Illinois volleyball's record for single-match kills, hammering 44 winners in 92 swings in the Illini's near upset of sixth-ranked Penn State.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Sept. 16, 2018

On this date in 1983, one day before Illinois’ home opener against Stanford, Fighting Illini Director of Athletics Neale Stoner announced that every ticket to every UI home football game had been sold.

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Sept. 9, 2018

Illinois running back Harry Jefferson played in the shadows of J.C. Caroline, Abe Woodson, Mickey Bates, Bobby Mitchell and Ray Nitschke, but despite that competition put together a fine career as a member of coach Ray Eliot's team from 1954-55.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Sept. 2, 2018

Happy 24th Birthday to legend Isaiah Martinez, one of only four Illinois varsity wrestling alumni to win two NCAA titles.

Recruited by coach Jim Heffernan, Martinez traveled more than 2,100 miles to attend the University of Illinois from his home in Lemoore, Calif.

He was redshirted as a true freshman, then began a dominating run of his Big Ten competition in the 2014-15 season.

Illini Legends, Lists and Lore: Aug. 26, 2018

On this date in 1964, former three-sport Illinois standout Norton E. "Swede" Hellstrom died at the age of 68.

Born a first-generation American in 1896, Hellstrom was the son of Swedish immigrants. He attended Evanston Township High School, the same school that sent UI Hall of Famers Chuck Carney and Alex Agase to play for the Illini.

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