EIU inducts 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame classes
Photo gallery (by King of the sands)
Eastern Illinois inducted its 40th Sports Hall of Fame class Friday night at the Unique Suites in Charleston as the classes for 2020 and 2021 were inducted into the EIU Sports Hall of Fame. The class included several EIU record holders, OVC Player of the Year, Conference Champions and All-Americans, with eight former athletes and two coaches / administrators being entered.
RC Johnson of the Class of 2020 and Betty Ralston of the Class of 2021 were unable to attend the ceremony. Johnson had a speech prepared by the current EIU sporting director read. Tom michel while Ralston made his son Phillip accept the honor on his behalf.
The group will be honored once again on Saturday, October 16 when it premieres at halftime of the Panthers football game against UT Martin.
Link to the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame page
Bios on Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees …
Adam Drake (Charleston, Illinois / Charleston HS / Soccer / 2011-14) was an outstanding receiver for the Panthers football team during one of the best offensive periods of the program. Drake was a two-time All-American winning second team honors as a senior in 2014. Drake finished his career second all-time on the EIU list for career receptions at 202 and third for yards career at 2,979. Drake would post the third and fourth best single-season totals in EIU history in receptions and yards as a career fifth.
Chandra Golden (Normal, Illinois / HS University / Athletics / 2007-10) was one of the most dominant hurdlers in OVC women’s track history. Golden was the OVC 100-meter hurdles champion for four consecutive years, holding the school’s graduation record with a time of 13.70. Golden would advance to two NCAA Regional Championships in her 100-meter hurdles career as she places in the career top five for all three hurdles events (indoor and outdoor). She was the 2010 OVC Indoor Track Athlete of the Year and was a member of six OVC Championship teams between her indoor and outdoor career.
Olivia Klaus (Eureka, Illinois / Eureka HS / Cross Country, Athletics / 2009-12) became the first EIU female cross country racer in school history to win four All-OVC honors, including three first team honors. Klaus has placed in the top five three times at the OVC Cross Country Championship, including a second in 2012. She finished fifth in 2011 as EIU won the OVC Team Championship. Klaus ranks second on the Panthers’ career 5K list and sixth on the 6K list. She added second-team All-OVC honors and was a member of seven OVC Championship teams between cross-country, indoor and outdoor tracks.
Vincent Webb Jr. (St. Louis, Missouri / Ladue HS / Soccer / 2003-06) took over as the Panthers’ primary running back as a freshman and carried the load for the next four seasons, culminating with OVC Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2006. Webb ended his career No. 2 on the EIU race list with 4,233 yards while placing third in career touchdowns with 43. He led EIU in rushing all four seasons with his career tally placing seventh all-time in the OVC upon graduation.
RC Johnson (Sporting Director / 1980-88) was Athletic Director at Eastern Illinois from 1980 to 1988, leading the Panthers’ transition from the NCAA Division II ranks to NCAA Division I ranks. Johnson was instrumental in reorganizing the fundraising arm of EIU Athletics by helping to establish the current Panther Club. He would oversee the Brighten O’Brien Fund Drive, which installed lights and added a second level to the press area / VIP suite. He would play a leading role in founding the Mid-Continent Conference for Men’s Sports while helping to lead the Gateway Football Conference for football and the Gateway Athletic Conference for women’s athletics. Under Johnson’s leadership, EIU qualified for five NCAA football playoffs, placed third at the 1981 NCAA Division I Men’s Football Tournament, women’s basketball qualified for the 1988 NCAA tournament and EIU won the Men’s Midcontinent Conference title three times.
Devon Bissell (St. Catharines, Ontario / Simcoe Gov. / Soccer / 1999-01) was a star on the football field for the EIU women’s program, helping the team become a dominant program in the OVC. A transfer from southern Alabama, Bissell has won All-Ohio Valley Conference honors in each of her three seasons with the Panthers, including being named OVC Player of the Year in 2000. She was named MVP of the OVC tournament in 2001, helping EIU make the comeback. back and forth to the NCAA College Cup. Despite only playing three seasons, Bissell holds the OVC record for career assists with 30, a total that ranks second all-time at EIU. Bissell ranks 10th on EIU’s career points list.
Reynae Hutchinson (Mattoon, Illinois / Mattoon HS / Volleyball & Softball / 2010-14) was an All-Conference artist in two different sports while in Eastern Illinois, helping both programs be successful. On the volleyball court, she was part of the All-Ohio Valley Conference first-team selection in 2012 and 2013 after winning All-OVC Newcomer honors as a freshman. She ranks fourth on EIU’s career winning list with 1,258 and as a senior she helped EIU win the OVC West Division title in volleyball. On the softball field, Hutchinson was a starter who helped the program win two OVC regular season championships in 2011 and 2013. runs.
Amber May (Normal, Illinois / Normal Community HS / Softball / 2009-11) became the first EIU player to win the Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year honors as she led the Panthers in the 2011 OVC regular season title with an overall record of 40-12 . May won All-OVC honors in each of her three seasons after transferring after a season as a pitcher in the junior college ranks. As a senior, she won second-team All-Mideast Region honors. May ranks third all-time at EIU in career wins, career shutouts, career strikeouts and full games.
Todd Moroney (Rock Falls, Illinois / Rock Falls HS / Cross Country & Track / 1995-98) has been an outstanding runner for the EIU’s cross country and track and field programs in the final days of competition at the Mid Continent Conference and the early days as a member of the Valley Conference Ohio. In cross country, he qualified for the NCAA National Championships in 1997, placing 159th. On track, he was eight-time conference champion, including four consecutive steeplechase titles, two in the mid-continent conference and two in the OVC. It would add individual championships in the indoor mile, the 3,000-meter indoor race, the 3,000-meter outdoor race and the 5,000-meter outdoor race. Moroney was named OVC Track Athlete of the Year for the 1998 indoor and outdoor track seasons, helping his teams win nine championships.
Betty Ralston (Volleyball Coach / Administrator) was the head coach of the Eastern Illinois volleyball team for 16 seasons from 1983 to 1998, winning 306 career games. Ralston recorded seven seasons with 20 or more wins and was named the Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year in 1998 after the Panthers won the OVC regular season title. During her tenure as head coach, 27 different players have won full conference honors with EIU playing in the Gateway Conference, Mid-Continent Conference and Ohio Valley Conference. She won two players the conference player of the year award. Following her coaching career, Ralston served for several years as the Director of Compliance and Senior Administrator for Eastern Illinois.