Happy Birthday, Doug Laz!

Happy Birthday, Doug Laz!

Don Laz

The Urbana High star celebrates his 59th birthday Tuesday. One of the Illini track and field’s top performers of the mid-1970s, he was a teammate of Craig Virgin, Charlton Ehizuelen and Jeff Jirele.  At the 1977 NCAA Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois, he placed fourth in the pole vault with a leap of 16 feet, 6 inches,  behind Arkansas State’s Earl Bell, UCLA’s Mike Tully and Arizona State’s Ralph Haynie. At the NCAAs in 1976, he placed sixth at 17-1¼. Doug is the son of the late Don Laz, silver medalist in the pole vault of the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. Doug’s mom, June, was a longtime Realtor in Champaign-Urbana. Laz currently holds a CLU designation at Wells Fargo, specializing in group and individual health benefits. He resides in Champaign with his family.

Illinois’ all-time
pole vault bests
18-8    Dean Starkey, 1989
18-5¼    Daren McDonough, 1994
18-1¼    Steve Bridges, 1992
18-0½    Bob Shank, 1991
18-0½    Lane Lohr, 1987
17-4½    Justin Norberg, 2000
17-4½    Doug Laz, 1976, 1977
17-3    Andrew Zollner, 2009
17-3    Tony Marchese, 2001
17-2¾    Jon Kelley, 1990

Illini Birthdays
Today: Marc Spicijaric, tennis (27)
Monday: Wes Lunt, football (20)
Tuesday: Tony Eason, football (54)
Wednesday: Brendan and Patrick Heffernan, wrestling (33)
Thursday: Nancy Brookhart, volleyball (45)
Friday: Luke Simmons, baseball (34)
Saturday: Yuval Ayalon, gymnastics (40)

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