Spoo headlines additions to Hall of Fame class

Bob Reynolds, Sports Editor

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Bob Spoo was coach of the Panthers from 1987 to 2011.

Bob Spoo was coach of the Panthers from 1987 to 2011.

Eastern will add five new members to its Athletic Hall of Fame Class at halftime of the Panther football teams’ home-opener against Illinois State on Saturday.

Headlining the 2015 class will be former Eastern football coach Bob Spoo, along with Jason Biaka, Lorri Sommer Brandy, Kandace Arnold and John Larson.

Eastern Assistant Athletic Director David Kidwell said there are categories of membership criteria, which includes being an athlete at Eastern, coach, administrator, staff, friends of athletics or being put under a special category.

The athletes are eligible for election five years after their final year of competition and must have been an Olympic qualifier, All-Conference selection, NCAA statistical leader, Eastern single season/career stat leader, NCAA or national award/honor.

“You have to have some credentials before we put someone on the ballot,” Kidwell said.

You are eligible for election two years after death, retirement or departure from the university if you are a coach, administrator or a staff member.

A ‘friend of athletics’ can be eligible for five years after having great involvement with eastern, and they have had to made a significant contribution to Eastern.

The EIU Athletic Hall of Fame was initiated in 1982, and its sole purpose is to recognize contributors to Eastern during or after their playing career.

Nominations can be only submitted by members of the EI Club, which can be joined by any former student-athlete, and any former or current coach, administrator or staff member.

The top five vote getters will be selected by a committee that will included nine members. Those include two athletic administrators, two head coaches from a female sport, two head coaches from a men’s sport and three members from the EI Club as appointed by the Athletic Director.

Heading this class is Spoo, who served as Eastern’s football coach for 24 years and won 144 games, which was more than any other coach.

Spoo earned nine NCAA playoff appearances and won or tied for five conference championships during his tenure.

Spoo was also named conference ‘Coach of the Year’ four times.

Jason Bialka was a cross country and track athlete from 1998-2001.

Jason Bialka was a cross country and track athlete from 1998-2001.

John Larson was one of the top pitchers in Panther baseball history as he played from 1997-2000.

John Larson was one of the top pitchers in Panther baseball history as he played from 1997-2000.

John Larson was the 1999 Ohio Valley Conference ‘Pitcher of the Year’. He tied an Eastern single-season record with 10 victories for the Eastern baseball team, leading them to its first  NCAA Division I tournament appearance.

Larson was a 2000 draft pick by Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates.

Jason Bialka is a two-time NCAA qualifier in cross country. He was the Ohio Valley Conference individual champion for three straight years from 1999-2001 and earned First Team All-OVC for all four years.

He was named the league’s Indoor ‘Athlete of the Year’ three times. He still holds the indoor 3000-meter record at 8 minutes and 8.36 seconds, which he set in 2001.

Lorri Sommer Bandy played volleyball from 1994-1997, earning first team All-Conference honors in two leagues.

Lorri Sommer Bandy played volleyball from 1994-1997, earning first team All-Conference honors in two leagues.

Arnold Kandace was dominant in women's track in the throws category from 2007-2010.

Kandace Arnold was dominant in women’s track in the throws category from 2007-2010.

Lorri Sommer Brandi was a two-time First Team All-Conference in the Mid-Continent in 1995 and then the OVC in 1997. She was second team All-OVC in 1996.

She ranks in the Panthers career top five in kills, sets played, total attempts, assisted blocks and total points.

Kandance Arnold was a NCAA track and field national qualifier in the shot put and named OVC All-Sport female ‘Athlete of the Year’ in 2010. She won 11 indoor and outdoor track championships.

She currently holds the Eastern school record in the indoor weight throw and shot put. She also holds the outdoor record in the discus, hammer and shotput.

Eastern will also honor former NFL head coach Mike Shanahan between the first and second quarter for his accomplishments in college and the NFL. He will have a banner hanging honoring his accomplishments.

 

Bob Reynolds can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]