EUREKA – The Eureka College Department of Athletics is proud to introduce its 2018 Hall of Fame Class. Ryan Brewster '96 (football, baseball) and James Humphrey '65 (men's basketball) will join former women's basketball head coach Sandy Schuster (1991-07) and former softball head coach Karen Sweitzer (1991-2008) as individuals voted into the Hall of Fame. The 1975 men's golf team and the 1978-79 men's basketball team will be enshrined as teams and Eureka College History Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Sanders will be inducted as an honorary member. The group will be formally inducted during an Oct. 6 ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at the Reagan Athletic Complex.
"It is with great pride that we welcome a new group of graduates, coaches and teams to the Eureka College Athletics Hall of Fame," interim Director of Athletics Bryan Moore said. "The legacy of success at Eureka runs deep and our 2018 induction class personifies that legacy. We're eager to honor them as part of our homecoming celebration."
Brewster was a standout defensive back on the gridiron for the Red Devils from 1992 through 1995 during their run as a national NAIA powerhouse. Described by former All-American wide receiver and current head coach Kurt Barth as "the best defender I ever went up against," Brewster was a three-time All-Illini-Badger Football Conference First Team selection, as well as a member of Eureka's 1994 NAIA playoff team and the Red Devils' 1995 league championship team.
On the baseball diamond, Brewster led the Red Devils in batting average as a junior in 1995 and again as a senior in 1996.
Humphrey played two seasons (1963-65) of basketball at Eureka for iconic Hall of Fame head coach Leo "Doc" Traister. He was the leading scorer in the old Gateway Conference in both of his two seasons. He averaged a double-double as a senior in 1964-65 and was listed as a top-20 scorer in the nation by Sports Illustrated and Sporting News Magazine.
Schuster is the winningest head coach in Eureka women's basketball history, putting up a 229-182 mark in 16 seasons from 1991 through 2007. A 1979 graduate of Murray State (Ky.), Schuster piloted the Red Devils to their first two 20-win seasons in program history, including what remains a school-record 22 wins in 1993-94 and a 21-7 mark in 2004-05 that made her the Northern Illinois-Iowa Conference Coach of the Year. Schuster's teams were especially solid at the Reagan Athletic Complex, winning 10 home games or more in six different seasons and putting up a 125-63 mark (.665) on their home floor. She also served as EC Director of Athletics from 2004 through 2008.
Sweitzer was the head coach of the EC softball program from 1991 until 2008 and was the winner of 310 games, the most by a female head coach in the history of the institution. The Red Devils earned their first NCAA Division III Tournament bid in school history under Sweitzer's guidance when EC went 21-15 in 2002 and received an at-large bid to the Bloomington, Ill. regional. She remains the only female head coach to take a Eureka College team to the national postseason. EC went to the NAIA District 20 playoffs twice (1992, 1994) and Sweitzer was voted NAIA District 20 Coach of the Year in 1994. Eureka also placed third in the NAIA Great Lakes sectional tournament in 1995, one season before the College made its transition to exclusive NCAA membership.
The College recently dedicated its longtime on-campus softball field for Sweitzer. "Sweitzer Field" was formally dedicated during a Sept. 15 ceremony.
Under the direction of Leo "Doc" Traister, the 1975 golf team won the Prairie College Conference championship, tied for the NAIA District 20 championship and remains the most successful golf team in school history. Gary Stromberger and Scott Blakely were selected to the All-PCC Team as well as the All-NAIA District 20 First Team.
The 1978-79 men's basketball team is the sixth team directed by Hall of Fame head coach Dave Darnall to be inducted into the Eureka College Hall of Fame. The Red Devils went 20-4 during the campaign, including a perfect 8-0 record at the Reagan Athletic Complex. EC opened the season with 10 consecutive victories from Nov. 17 through Dec. 15 of 1978, equaling its best start to a season in program history.
The largest donor in the history of the institution, Sanders has been a major contributor to the sweeping improvements and renovations at Eureka College. His contributions have allowed for the construction of Sanders Hall and renovation to the Reagan Athletic Complex in 2015, as well as the upgrades to McKinzie Field in 2017.