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Southern Illinois Salukis Football

Southern Illinois Salukis Football

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Dan Verdun, with a foreword by Jerry Kill


240 pages, 8.25 x 9.25, 76 illustrations


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About the Book

Southern Illinois Salukis Football, the first book to focus solely on the program and its history at Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), details the organization’s greatest moments, from its origins around the beginning of the twentieth century through the extraordinary leadership of head coaches William McAndrew, Rey Dempsey, and Jerry Kill, to the present-day team and its coach, local hero Nick Hill. Dan Verdun draws on more than one hundred interviews with coaches, players, sports historians, and sports reporters, as well as newspaper and magazine archives and other sources, to give readers an in-depth look at Saluki players, coaches, and teams from all eras.

Beginning with an exploration of the earliest days of football at Southern Illinois Normal University—as it was then called—including the first official team in 1913 under the school’s first athletic director and the years leading up to World War II, the book covers the history of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (IIAC), referencing personal interviews with key players and coaches of the IIAC from the late 1940s through the disbanding of the conference in 1970. Chapters about the 1950s and subsequent decades tell of the program’s history through biographical sketches of coaches as well as legendary players such as Marion Rushing, Carver Shannon, Houston Antwine, and Jim Hart. These brief tales reveal where the players came from, why they chose SIUC, what they accomplished while wearing the maroon and white, and how they fared after college. Additional chapters cover recruiting, transfers, rivals, venues, and celebrated supporters such as Mike Reis, the “Voice of the Salukis.” A final chapter offers media analysis of the fans’ central debate: which historical Saluki team was the greatest? Appendixes include “All-Century Team,” “Retired SIU Jersey Numbers,” and “Saluki Hall of Fame” and list SIU players in the NFL, the CFL, the USFL, and the Arena Football League.
Illustrated with approximately seventy-five color and black-and-white photos of players and coaches, games, and other subjects, Southern Illinois Salukis Football offers readers a fresh, colorful perspective of the SIUC football program.


Dan Verdun grew up in Odell, Illinois, and holds degrees from Eastern Illinois University and Northern Illinois University. He is the author of books on Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, and Illinois State football. Currently, he teaches in Naperville, Illinois, where he lives with his wife Nancy, son Tommy, and daughter Lauren.