EIU introduces Hall of Fame classes in 2020 and 2021


Photo gallery (from Sandy king)

Eastern Illinois launched its 40th Athletic Hall of Fame class at the Unique Suites Hotel in Charleston on Friday evening as classes were inducted into the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame for 2020 and 2021. The class included several EIU record holders, OVC Player of the Year, Conference Masters and All-Americans as eight former athletes and two coach / administrators were represented.

RC Johnson from the 2020 class and Betty Ralston from the 2021 class were unable to attend the ceremony. Johnson had a prepared speech read out by the current EIU sports director Tom Michael while Ralston let her son Phillip accept the honor for her.

The group will be honored once again on Saturday October 16 when they are featured at halftime in the Panthers soccer game against UT Martin.

Link to the EIU Athletic Hall of Fame website

Bios about Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 Hall of Fame Inductees …

Adam Drake (Charleston, Illinois / Charleston HS / Soccer / 2011-14) was an outstanding wide receiver with the Panthers soccer team during one of the program’s top offensive eras. Drake was a two-time All-American who received the second team award in 2014 when he was senior. Drake finished his career second all-time on the EIU list in career receptions at 202 and third in career reception yards at 2,979. Drake would post the third and fourth best single seasons in EIU history at both receptions and yards, while finishing fifth in career touchdowns.

Chandra Golden (Normal, Illinois / University HS / Athletics / 2007-10) was one of the most dominant hurdlers in the history of the OVC women’s track. Golden was the OVC 100-meter hurdler for four years in a row and held the school record at graduation with a time of 13.70. Golden would move up to two NCAA Regionals in her career in the 100-meter hurdles, as she ends up in the top 5 of the career in all three hurdles (indoor and outdoor). She was the 2010 OVC Indoor Athlete of the Year and has been a member of six OVC championship teams throughout her indoor and outdoor career.

Olivia Klaus (Eureka, Illinois / Eureka HS / Cross Country, Athletics / 2009-12) became the first EIU cross-country runner in school history to receive four All-OVC awards, including three first-team awards. Klaus placed in the top 5 three times at the OVC Cross Country Championship, including a second place in 2012. She was fifth in 2011 when EIU won the OVC Team Championship. Klaus ranks second on the Panthers’ 5K career list and sixth on the 6K list. She added All-OVC Track honors to the second team and was a member of seven OVC Championship teams between Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track.

Vincent Webb Jr. (St. Louis, Missouri / Ladue HS / Soccer / 2003-06) took over the role of the Panthers’ primary ball carrier as a freshman and carried the rushing load for the next four seasons, culminating in 2006 with the OVC Offensive Player of the Year award. Webb finished his career in second place on the EIU rushing list with 4,233 yards and also finished third in career touchdowns at 43. He led EIU in all four seasons with his career totaling seventh all-time in the OVC Time of its graduation.

RC Johnson (Sports Director / 1980-88) served as a sports director in Eastern Illinois from 1980 to 1988, leading the Panthers transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I. Johnson was instrumental in reorganizing EIU Athletics’ fundraising arm that led to the creation of the current Panther Clubs helped. He would oversee Brighten O’Brien Fund Drive, which installed lights and added a second level to the press area / VIP suite area. He would take a leading role in founding the Mid-Continent Conference for men’s sports, while also chairing the Gateway Football Conference for soccer and the Gateway Athletic Conference for women’s athletics. Under Johnson’s guidance, EIU qualified for five NCAA soccer playoffs, finished third in the 1981 NCAA Division I men’s soccer tournament, qualified for the 1988 women’s NCAA tournament, and EIU won the men’s all-sports title three times in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Devon Bissell (St. Catharines, Ontario / Gov. Simcoe / Soccer / 1999-01) was a stellar appearance on the football field for the EIU women’s program and helped the team become a dominant program in the OVC. Transferred from South Alabama, Bissell received the All-Ohio Valley Conference’s Panthers Awards for each of her three seasons, including being named OVC Player of the Year in 2000. She was named OVC Tournament MVP in 2001 and helped EIU about to return to the NCAA College Cup. Although Bissell has only played three seasons, Bissell holds the OVC record for career assists at 30, which ranks second overall at EIU. Bissell ranks 10th on the EIU career point list.

Reynae Hutchinson (Mattoon, Illinois / Mattoon HS / Volleyball & Softball / 2010-14) was an all-conference performer in two different sports during her time in eastern Illinois that helped both programs succeed. On the volleyball court, she was a first-team selection at the All-Ohio Valley Conference in 2012 and 2013 after receiving the All-OVC Newcomer award as a freshman. She ranks fourth on the EIU career kill list with 1,258 and helped EIU win the OVC West Division title in volleyball as a senior citizen. At the Softball Diamond, Hutchinson was a starter helping the program win two regular season OVC championships in 2011 and 2013. She was an All-OVC first-team selection in softball as a senior and finished her career in fifth place in the RBI and home runs.

Amber May (Normal, Illinois / Normal Community HS / Softball / 2009-11) became the first EIU player to win Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Year accolade as she led the Panthers to the OVC’s regular season title in 2011 with an overall record of 40-12. May received All-OVC awards in each of her three seasons after moving up the junior college ranks after one season. As a senior, she earned the All-Mideast Region Second Team Awards. May ranks third all time at EIU in career wins, career failures, career failures and complete games.

Todd Moroney (Rock Falls, Illinois / Rock Falls HS / Cross Country & Track / 1995-98) was an outstanding runner for the EIU’s cross country and track programs in the last few days of attending the Mid-Continent Conference and in the first few days as a member of the Ohio Valley Conference. In Cross Country, he qualified for the 1997 NCAA National Championships and finished 159th. On the track, he was an eight-time conference champion, including four consecutive titles in the obstacle course, two in the Mid-Continent Conference and two in the OVC. It would add individual championships in the indoor mile, indoor 3,000-meter run, outdoor 3,000-meter run, and outdoor 5,000-meter run. Moroney was named OVC Athlete of the Year for the 1998 indoor and outdoor seasons and helped his teams win nine championships.

Betty Ralston (volleyball trainer / administrator) served as the head coach of the Eastern Illinois volleyball team for 16 seasons from 1983–98, winning 306 career games. Ralston celebrated seven seasons of 20 or more wins and was named 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 received All-Conference awards, with EIU playing in the Gateway Conference, Mid-Continent Conference and Ohio Valley Conference. It had two players who won Conference Player of the Year awards. Following her coaching career, Ralston served for several years as Director of Compliance in Eastern Illinois and Senior Woman Administrator.

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