Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: John Easterbrook

Former Illini quarterback John Easterbrook celebrates his 74th birthday Wednesday. He lettered for coach Ray Eliot from 1958 to ’59 and for coach Pete Elliott’s squad in 1960. The Champaign native’s best season was his senior year, when he completed 40 passes for 538 yards and rushed for 352 yards. At 5-foot-8, 156 pounds, Easterbrook was considered an undersized player, though he still had career totals of 1,486 passing yards and 465 rushing yards. He was named MVP of the 1960 Copper Bowl all-star team and received the Earl Blaik NCAA Postgraduate Scholar-Athlete Award. Easterbrook earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce and law, and attended the UI’s Law School. He coached college football for 13 seasons, including stops at Idaho, Oregon State, Illinois and Wyoming. Easterbrook eventually became a collegiate administrator, serving as associate athletic director at Fresno State. He served as director of athletics at Cal State Fullerton for seven seasons, beginning in that role in 1994 and retiring in 2001. Among Easterbrook’s accomplishments was a multimillion-dollar expansion of Fullerton’s baseball and softball facilities. The Titans won the NCAA baseball championship in 1995. Easterbrook and his wife reside in Palm Springs, Calif.

Illini Birthdays
Sunday: Chris Williams, football (60)
Monday: Bob Quinn, football (63)
Tuesday: Joe Smalzer, football (60)
Wednesday: Doug Higgins, football (44)
Thursday: Don Freeman, basketball (69)
Friday: Peter Bouton, tennis (50)
Saturday: Ben Forsyth, Chief Illiniwek No. 16


By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore.

Get Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @B1GLLL and on Facebook at Big Ten Legends, Lists & Lore

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tombeck wrote on July 14, 2013 at 6:07 pm

It was enjoyable to read about John Easterbrook.  I remember him because at the same time that he was quarterbacking at Illinois I was the QB at NIU.  At that time it was fun reading about his career because we were about the same size (actually I was 5'10" 162 lbs).  He has done super after his playing career.  I enjoyed my post-playing career also, as a H.S., college and pro coach and scout.  In 2004 I was inducted into the NFF/HOF along with Joe Thiesman, Barry Sanders, Hayden Fry, Jimbo Covert and others.  I did coach one year at Illinois.