Additionally, Bloomington-Normal radio
personality Don Munson will be honored with the Campbell "Stretch"
Miller Award. The group will be officially inducted during the Hall
of Fame banquet at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, at the Radisson Hotel
and Conference Center in Bloomington. At halftime of the Illinois
State-Truman State football game the following day, the group will
also be recognized.
"The Hall of Fame and Stretch Miller
ceremonies are among the highlights of the Redbird athletics
department every year," said Director of Athletics Perk Weisenburger.
"Mike, Jim and Susan were all outstanding student-athletes at
Illinois State and model representatives of this university and
athletics department, while Don provided the Redbirds years of
service and countless contributions to our program.
"This year's class nearly covers a
decade in Redbird athletics, and it represents student-athletes who
have been successful on a regional, national and professional level.
It is a great representation of the former athletes that have helped
make the Illinois State Athletic Department the success that it is."
Mike Baker (1978-82)
lettered four years at Illinois State but was best known for his two
all-America honors. He was the fastest American college student in
the outdoor three-mile run in 1982 and claimed his other all-America
honor in the indoor three-mile run in 1981. The Granite City native
was a three-time Missouri Valley Conference champion and a five-time
NCAA qualifier. He still holds the school records for the indoor
5,000-meter run (13:59.24) and the 3,000-meter steeplechase
"This is truly an honor," Baker said.
"I'm very appreciative of this recognition and it really means a lot
to me. I had a lot of success while running for the Redbirds, and
I'm proud to say that I'm one of the best distance runners to come
out of a very successful program. Illinois State is a wonderful
school, and I'm just grateful that coach (John) Coughlan recruited
me so hard. My time at ISU was one of the best times of my life."
After graduating from Illinois State,
Baker worked in the business sector for three years before joining
the United States Navy. As a sonar technician on U.S. Navy
submarines, Baker has served aboard the USS Pittsburgh, the USS
Nebraska, a 560-foot Trident nuclear submarine and most recently the
USS Albuquerque, a fast-attack submarine similar to the USS
Baker has been named Sailor of the
Quarter in his command four times, an honor based on responsibility,
leadership and performance of duties. He also has received three
Navy Achievement Medals.
Jim Meyer (1981-85)
was named a first team all-American by United Press International in
1985 as an offensive tackle for the Illinois State football team. In
1986, he was chosen in the seventh round of the National Football
League draft by the Cleveland Browns. Meyer played a season with the
Browns before joining the Green Bay Packers in 1987 and retiring in
"I'm very proud of this honor. It's
humbling," Meyer said. "I had a great career at ISU, but being an
offensive lineman, I always wondered if I would be overlooked. I
came in from a small school in Wisconsin and wasn't heavily
recruited. My high school and guidance counselor suggested that I
write a letter promoting myself to every school in the Midwest.
Illinois State responded and I came down here on a partial
scholarship, redshirted my first year, and was determined to play. I
had a great time at ISU and made many friends. It was an awesome
Meyer lettered four years at Illinois
State after redshirting in 1981. In 1984, he was an honorable
mention selection by the Kodak/American Football Coaches
Association. The Brodhead, Wis., native was a three-time selection
to the all-Missouri Valley Conference team. Once Meyer broke into
the starting lineup in the middle of his freshman season, he never
missed a single snap with the first offense for the rest of his
career. After his freshman season, Meyer was named the most improved
player for the Redbirds. In 1985, Meyer participated in the Blue vs.
Gray All-Star Game and was a strength and conditioning all-American.
Meyer played three seasons with fellow
Illinois State Athletics Hall of Famer and NFL alum Mike Prior. He
is currently a warehouse manager at Vosterman's Ventilation in
[to top of second column in this article]
Susan Wellman (1984-88)
was player of the year in the Gateway
Conference in 1988 after leading the Redbirds to a 20-11 record, a
conference regular-season championship and a bid to the Women's
National Invitation Tournament. She returned to Illinois State 10
years later, in 1998, as an assistant coach for the final season of
the Jill Hutchison era.
"I truly enjoyed my time at Illinois
State -- academically, athletically and personally," Wellman said.
"I still remember when Jill (Hutchison) and Melinda (Fischer) showed
up at my house for my home visit. Once I met them, I knew ISU was
where I wanted and needed to be. I learned so much about basketball
and life. Jill really taught me a lot and challenged me to grow,
develop and succeed. I attribute much of my professional success to
my experiences at ISU and having Jill as a coach. Being inducted is
also a reflection on the people I played with during my career. I
obviously couldn't have been successful without solid teammates who
trusted me to get the job done inside. This is truly an honor."
A four-year letter winner, Wellman
still owns the Redbird single-season field goal percentage mark of
.631 (197-312), set in 1987-88. She is also No. 2 in career field
goal percentage (.545), No. 13 in career rebounding (572) and No. 16
in career scoring (1,137).
After graduating from Illinois State,
the Quincy native played two seasons in the Women's Basketball
Association (1993-94) before spending two years as the head coach at
Springfield's Ursuline Academy and another two-year stint at
Chatham-Glenwood High School. In 1994, Wellman returned to the
collegiate level as an assistant coach at Southern Illinois, before
moving to Tulsa in 1996 and returning to ISU two years later.
Wellman is currently a district sales
manager in Tulsa, Okla., for an expansion sales force with Eli Lilly
This year's Campbell "Stretch" Miller
Award winner is Don Munson. The award is named for Miller, a
Redbird athlete who went on to broadcast Illinois State games in the
1940s before joining the broadcasting team for the St. Louis
Cardinals. The award named in his honor celebrates the contributions
of those whose main services were not playing or coaching but were
important to the program's success.
"I knew ‘Stretch' Miller a little bit,"
Munson said. "I spent a day with him at Hancock Stadium, and he was
in a wheelchair by that point due to Lou Gehrig disease (ALS). He
and I watched a Redbird football practice, and I found him to be a
fascinating man and a great storyteller. He is synonymous with
Illinois State athletics and helped pave the way at WJBC. That is
why it's a real treat to receive an honor with his name on it."
Munson was a drive-time radio
personality for 35 years on WJBC, the flagship station of the
Redbird Radio Network, and was the voice of the Redbirds for two
seasons in the mid-1960s. During that stretch with WJBC he also
served as the program director, station manager and vice president
of local component of the parent company.
The Gibson City native also serves as a
community representative on the editorial board of The Pantagraph
and is a volunteer air personality on the campus public radio
station, WGLT. He has authored five publications and been recognized
countless times with awards and honors for his local contributions,
including the WJBC Spirit of McLean County Award in 2000, which was
renamed in his honor.
the Hall of Fame ceremony are $25 per person and can be purchased
through The Redbird Club office. To order tickets or for more
information, please call Pat Cattron, (309) 438-3803.
State Athletics news release]