We asked a few Illini sports greats what they remember most about the day they said “I do” to C-U. Here’s Champaign Central Hall of Famer Dan O’Neill, who made the all-Big Ten first team as an outfielder in 1998, hit .326 for his career and now works in the front office of the Houston Astros.
“I was considering Illinois, Tulane and Notre Dame. The Notre Dame assistant called me about three weeks before the signing date. I was told that I was their backup choice and that if their number 1 choice didn´t commit, they wanted me.
“Well, signing day came, and they called me, and I remember saying, ‘No thank you. I´m going to Illinois.´
“I was proud to be Illinois´ number 1 choice, and I will always be grateful to Itch Jones for giving me the opportunity.”