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 as VP of corporate partnerships for Charlotte, N.C.-based Tepper Sports and Entertainment.
“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," says the former Houston Astros' former senior director of business operations.