ILLINOIS STATE REDBIRDS
The ISU Redbirds play in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision(FCS) and are in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The very first ISU football team was created in 1887. They now play at the newly renovated Hancock Stadium and are coached by Brock Spack. They hold two Missouri Valley Conference titles and have advanced to the NCAA Division I playoffs five times total and recently played for the championship but fell short. ISU football has had 15 players go on to play at a professional level and are still adding more to that list. Led by seniors Marshaun Coprich and Tre Roberson the Illinois State Redbirds are an Offensive powerhouse heading into the 2015 season.
CURRENT KEY PLAYERS
#25 Marshaun Coprich: RB
In 2014, Coprich was selected to First-Team All American by the Associated Press, The Sports Network, and The Walter Camp Football Foundation. He was also awarded FCS player of the year in 2014 and recently 2015 becoming the fourth player in MVFC history to do so for 2 seasons in a row. He now holds Illinois State's all time career rushing yards record with 4703 total rushing yards for his career.
2012: In 2012 Marshaun saw limited action because he was a young freshmen. He rushed for a total of 70 yards and had 0 touchdowns.
2013: In 2013 Coprich improved tremendously as he rushed for 890 yards and had 9 touchdowns on 221 attempts.
2014: As his career goes on he keeps improving more and more. In 2014 he rushed for 2274 total yards and had 27 touchdowns.
2015: heading into the playoffs as the number 2 team, Coprich has rushed for 1469 total yards with 16 touchdowns.
#5 Tre Roberson: QB
Tre Roberson originally started his career at The University of Indiana and transferred to ISU in 2014. His first year at ISU he was named MVC newcomer of the year. He started every game last season breaking school records for touchdowns, total offensive yards, and total scores accounted for and many more smaller records. Last season he had 11 games with 2 or more touchdowns. The 2015 season will be his last season as a redbird as he is a senior.
2014: In his first year at Illinois State, Roberson rushed for a total of 1029 yards with 11 touchdowns. He also passed for 3221 yards with 30 touchdowns.
2015: At the end of the regular season, Tre Roberson has rushed for a total of 509 yards and 8 touchdowns while also passing for 1683 yards with 14 touchdowns.
Hancock Stadium opened in 1963 and was named after former ISU athletic director Dr. Howard Hancock. Recently renovated to fit 13,391 people and the estimate cost of this renovation was $20 million. Hancock stadium was the first Illinois college stadium to have artificial turf. For many years Hancock Stadium has hosted the IHSA football championships but was soon moved to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
2015 SCHEDULE: http://www.goredbirds.com/schedule.aspx?path=football
HEAD COACH: BROCK SPACK
Brock Spack was named head coach of the Illinois State Redbirds prior to the 2009 season. He saw something special in this team, almost like a sleeping giant. He felt as if the team had all of the necessary tools and resources to be a dominant force in the FCS but did not have the correct leadership to get them to that point.
It seems as if Brock Spack was just what the Redbirds needed to awake the sleeping giant as he has brought the team to two appearances in the FCS playoffs in three seasons and a 2014 MVC Championship while also leading them to finish second place at the 2014 FCS championship. Brock Spack has been a two time finalist for the Eddie Robinson award presented by the Sports Network.
In 2014 Spack was named MVC coach of the year. He led the redbirds to a 10-1 regular season record. ISU won their first MVC title since 1999 and finished the season ranked number 2 nationally.
OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR: KURT BEATHARD
Kurt Beathard has recently been hired for the 2015 season as an offensive coordinator and a quarterback’s coach. He recently coached at Youngstown State and has coached in the FCS for 12 years. His experience consists of coaching for Gardener-Webb, Eastern Kentucky, Bucknell, and Western Carolina.
DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR: SPENCE NOWINSKY
Nowinsky is starting his first year as the Redbirds defensive coordinator but his sixth season on the Redbirds coaching staff. He mentors the defensive lineman but he also serves as the teams associate head coach.
His defensive lineman have proved that Nowinsky makes a great defensive lineman coach as they have three of his players named First-Team All Missouri Valley Football conference selections. Nowinsky calls his lineman “Cadillacs” because of their durability, strength, and power. Nowinsky served a huge part in making defensive end Nate Palmer who transferred to ISU in 2011 and was named a two time All-MVFC selection. Palmer then went on to be drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Missouri Valley Football Conference Title: 1999, 2014, 2015
NCAA Division I Football Championship Playoffs: 1998, 1999, 2006, 2012, 2014, 2015
1950 -- Corn Bowl: Missouri-Rolla def. ISU, 7-6
1999 -- Pecan Bowl: ISU def. Hofstra, 37-20
2006 -- Pecan Bowl: Youngstown State def. ISU, 28-21
FCS Championship Game:
2014 -- North Dakota State def. ISU 29-27
PROFESSIONAL ILLINOIS STATE ALUMNI
Aveion Cason - former NFL running back (2001-2008)
Luke Drone - former NFL quarterback (2008)
James "Boomer" Grisgby - former NFL fullback (2005-2008)
Brent Hawkins - former NFL (2006-2008) & CFL (2010-2013) defensive end
James O'Shaughnessy - current NFL tight end (2015-present)
Cameron Meredith - current NFL wider receiver (2015-present)
Jim Meyer - former NFL offensive tackle (1987)
Tom Nerlson - former NFL wide receiver (2009-2011)
Nate Palmer - current NFL linebacker (2013-present)
Mike Prior - former NFL defensive back (1985, 1987-1998) **1997 Super Bowl Champion with Green Bay Packers**
Laurent Robinson - former NFL wide receiver (2007-2012)
Mark Rodenhauser - former NFL center (1987-1999)
Cameron Siskowic - former NFL linebacker (2007)
Colton Underwood - current NFL linebacker (2015-present)