CHAMPAIGN — Joe Spencer’s legacy will be remembered for more than his on-the-field accomplishments. The former Illini football player was named the 2017 Coach Wooden Citizen Cup winner at a ceremony in Atlanta Tuesday night. The annual award is in honor of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. It’s given to one college, professional and high school athlete for character and leadership both on and off the field.
“It was an honor to win the award and win the Wooden Cup and for what Coach Wooden stood for on and off the court,” Spencer said. “It meant a lot and it just encaptures not the work that I put in but all my teammates and all the Illinois student-athletes have put in over the years of me being here with SAAC and Uplifting Athletes and going to local schools. It’s a huge honor and I’m really appreciative of it.”
Spencer served as president of the Illini chapter of Uplifting Athletes, raising nearly $40,000 for charity in two years hosting “Life for Life.” He was also president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, where he helped raise over $80,000 in the last five years with their yearly variety show. Spencer started 37 games in his Illini career and was a team captain for the 2016 season.