WCIA — Former Illini linebacker Kevin Hardy expecting to eventually get a call about joining the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame, but when athletic director Josh Whitman called last week, Hardy thought it was about fundraising. Little did he know what was ahead later in the conversation.
“It doesn’t matter whether you think it’s going to happen or whether you know it’s going to happen,” Hardy said during a teleconference with reporters on Wednesday. “It’s totally different when you actually hear the words that it’s happened so when he called and told me that, there was a real sense of pride and accomplishment.”
Hardy is more than deserving, and one of the headliners of a 15-person Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Class that will be formally inducted during a ceremony in Champaign on Sept. 18 at State Farm Center. The former All-American linebacker won the Butkus award in 1995, it propelled him into the second overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, where he was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hardy finished his career ninth on the program’s all-time tackles list with 330, fourth in sacks with 18, and fourth in tackles for loss with 18.
WATCH this digital only clip from 1995 as Hardy has some fun at Magic Kingdom during his trip to Orlando, on his way to winning the Butkus Award.