Fans celebrate NIU fall sports season


Mitchell Johnson (left), 13, and Bud Weinstock, 66, of Sycamore, pose for a picture with NIU championship trophies before the men’s basketball game Wednesday night at the Convocation Center. NIU Media Services took pictures of the fans and later posted them online for fans to download.

By James Cantagallo

Fans of all ages came out to celebrate one the most successful NIU fall sports season in recent history Wednesday prior to the men’s basketball game at the Convocation Center.

The football teams’ MAC Championship and Bowl trophies were on display. Also on hand was the men’s soccer MAC Tournament Championship trophy and women’s volleyball MAC West division and MAC Championship Trophy.

Fans were given the opportunity to have their pictures taken with the trophies that were on display.

Jay Orbik, NIU director of media services, came up with the idea to put the trophies on display and take fans pictures with them.

“We got the idea from when people wanted their picture taken with the GoDaddy trophy on the sideline at the game,” Orbik said.

Some fans came out to the game just to get a glimpse of the trophies.

“Pretty much the main reason I came out was to see the trophies,” said NIU alumnus Byron VonHoff of St. Charles.

NIU offensive lineman Logan Pegram said he was pleased with the turnout.

“This is a great thing for the fans to be able to come and enjoy some of the excitement we share with the school and the community,” Pegram said.

Bud Weinstock, an NIU supporter for 40 years, said he felt that being to get close to the trophies made him feel more a part of the championships.

“I went to the Detroit game and this makes you feel more a part of it,” Weinstock said.

Jim Yagen, a member of the 1972 baseball team in the NIU Athletics hall of fame, said the championships were big for exposure.

It is good publicity for the school, not just for athletics, but the school in general,” Yagen said. “That is always what you want to have.”

To VonHoff, he’s proud to don NIU apparel and said NIU athletics is catching people’s attention.

“You go around and you are not embarrassed to wear the hat,,” VonHoff said. “People aren’t asking, ‘Who is that? They are beginning to recognize Northern has good sports.”