Listen to this article

Forty-three years ago today — May 2, 1978 — Lisa and Lynnette Robinson of Annawan became the first women athletes in University of Illinois history to sign full scholarships.

Four years later, they ended their careers as Illinois’ top two career basketball scorers of all time. By the time Lisa and Lynnette played their final games in Illini uniforms, the twins ranked as UI’s Nos. 1 and 2 career scorers and Nos. 1 and 4 career rebounders, respectively.

Elsewhere on this date in Fighting Illini history:

May 2, 1923: Illini baseball crushed Chicago, 16-3, as Swede Hellstrom, Cliff Happenny and Les Schlapprizzi

  • each smacked home runs.

May 2, 1925:

  • Illinois dedicated its new Memorial Stadium track by defeating Notre Dame. Illini athletes won 10 different events that day.

May 2, 1941: Paul Milosevich’s two home runs drove in six runs and Boyd Bartley

  • went 4 for 5 as Illinois baseball embarrassed Chicago in the Windy City, 22-4.

May 2, 1952: Rookie coach Lee Eilbracht got a complete-game performance from pitcher Jerry Smith and Illini shortstop John Davis

  • went 4 for 5 as Illinois topped Purdue, 11-6. UI went on to tie for the Big Ten title.

May 2, 1983: All-star Illini guard Derek Harper

  • announced that he would forego his senior year of eligibility to turn pro.

May 2, 1993: UI’s women’s tennis squad placed third at the Big Ten Championships in Bloomington, Ind., its best finish ever. UI’s Lindsey Nimmo

  • was named the conference’s player of the year.

May 2, 1998: Illini baseball improved its Big Ten record to 17-5 and Brett Weber became the first UI pitcher to win a game in every conference series as Illinois swept Purdue. Coach Itch Jones

  • ’ Big Ten champs finished 19-5.

May 2, 1999: Coach Craig Tiley

  • ’s Illini tennis team won its third straight Big Ten title, marking the first time in history that had happened at Illinois.

May 2, 2010:

  • Beating runner-up Iowa by three strokes at the course in Independence, Minn., Illinois’ men’s golf squad won back-to-back Big Ten titles for the first time since 1940 and 1941.

May 2, 2015: Illinois baseball battled back twice to win its school-record 20th consecutive game, a 6-5 victory over No. 23 Ohio State. Closer Tyler Jay

  • notched his ninth save by retiring the Buckeyes’ last seven hitters.

May 2, 1996: Malcolm Hill

  • was named most-valuable player of the 2015-16 Illini basketball team.

May 2, 2017: Illini golf swept virtually every honor it could as the Big Ten handed out its postseason awards. Mike Small was named the conference’s coach of the year for the third straight season, while junior Dylan Meyer earned the league’s player of the year honor and rookie Michael Feagles

  • was named freshman of the year.

Illini Birthdays:

Sunday: John Wiza, football (70)

Monday: Joey Gerber, baseball (24)

Tuesday: Mannie Jackson, basketball (79)

Wednesday: Vontae Davis, football (33)

Thursday: Leo Oka, gymnastics (44)

Friday: John Holecek, football (49)

Saturday: Owen Hickey, football (19)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @IlliniLegends and @B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.

Trending Videos