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This first-ever history of the Illinois State University football program chronicles Redbird legends and lore, from the 1880s team to today’s Missouri Valley Football Conference powerhouse. Dan Verdun covers the early years (1887 to World War II) and the post-war era (late 1940s to 1950s) before delving into a decade-by-decade examination of the program. The 1950 Corn Bowl team, playoff appearances, NFL draft picks, and the 2014 team’s second-place finish in the FCS National Championship are all included.
Opening with a foreword by James “Boomer” Grigsby, an ISU all-American linebacker who was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005, Illinois State Redbirds Football includes many names that will be familiar to Illinois State fans, including Frank Chiodi, Guy Homoly, Kevin Glenn, Laurent Robinson, Brock Spack, and Tre Roberson. Informed by extensive research and personal interviews, Verdun relays the inside stories of several players and explores the details of where they came from, how they arrived at ISU, what they accomplished on the playing field, and the paths their lives took after graduation.
This engaging account retells the greatest moments in ISU Redbirds history with fresh new insight. It will appeal to ISU fans and alumni, and those fascinated by sports history and the history of the region will also find much of interest in this comprehensive volume.