Listen to this article

During the six decades of Loren Tate’s service as a reporter for The News-Gazette, he has chronicled a myriad of Illini athletic competitions and events for the Champaign-Urbana community.

As part of The News-Gazette’s special section about its Hall of Famer, we were asked to gather a list of notable Illini experiences each year that have happened over the last half-century of Tate’s employment.

Over the next 55 days, we will looking back at some notable moments in Illini history. Up next: 1981

Feb. 20: UI quarterback Dave Wilson, who waged a court battle last year in order to play football, asked for $10 million in damages from the Big Ten.

March 14: Mark Smith hit two free throws with three seconds left to lift Illinois past Wyoming 67-65 in Los Angeles in the Illini's first NCAA Tournament game in 18 years.

March 30: In Washington, serving on Ronald Reagan’s secret service detail, former Illini football player Tim McCarthy stepped in front of a bullet intended for the President.

April 30: In response to its case arguing Dave Wilson’s eligibility and impending Big Ten sanctions, the University of Illinois announced that it was considering withdrawal from the Big Ten rather than accepting penalties that would include barring all UI teams from postseason play and withholding television revenue.

June 24: Illini quarterback Dave Wilson and his attorney, Robert Auler, argued unsuccessfully in a Peoria courtroom against the Big Ten’s intent to deny Wilson an extra year of eligibility.

June 26: Wilson announced that he would enter the NFL’s supplemental draft. On July 7, he was chosen by the New Orleans Saints.

Aug. 5: Big Ten penalties slapped on the UI athletic program were softened, but Illinois remained under probation until September 1982.

Aug. 15: With the University of Minnesota remaining as a potential holdout, Illinois and eight other Big Ten schools voted to affiliate their women’s athletic programs with the conference. Minnesota joined the others on Oct. 8.

Sept. 3: Gov. James Thompson approved a plan that would subsidize athletics at the University of Illinois with money from the state lottery. The UI, placed on probation by the Big Ten, was expected to lose nearly $500,000 as part of the penalty.

Oct. 31: Illinois football topped eventual Rose Bowl participant Iowa 24-7 behind a 263-yard passing performance by quarterback Tony Eason.

Trending Videos