It was a star-studded day at Northern Illinois' morning football practice on Wednesday as not one, but two, College Football Hall of Famers were in attendance. George Bork, who still owns 18 Northern Illinois passing records from his days' as the NIU signal-caller from 1960-63, was at practice with his wife Merlin and granddaughter Addison (5). The Borks were especially interested to see current NIU quarterback Chandler Harnish again as Harnish has a chance to break many of Bork's 47-year-old passing records.
"I told [Chandler] it would be OK [if he broke the records]," Bork said with a smile. "I've had them long enough."
Following practice, Harnish, who needs 1,058 passing yards in 2011 to break Bork's career passing yardage mark, and the rest of the quarterbacks came over to greet the NIU great, who was a two-time consensus All-American and led the Huskies to the 1963 National Championship with a perfect 10-0-0 record. Bork also visited with NIU offensive coordinator Matt Canada and assistant coach Tom Matukewicz.
Coincidentally, Wednesday was also the day that Tom Beck, one of the finest two-way players in NIU football history, chose to bring his grandson, Tommy, out to see the Huskies. Beck, who played for the Huskies from 1959-61 and was a second-team All-American at halfback, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004. After his playing days, he went on to a very successful career as a college coach.
Beck and Tommy had the chance to visit with NIU safety Tommy Davis during practice. The Huskies' safety told Beck he recognized his name from his locker, which carries Beck's name. Talk about a coincidence!
Both Bork and Beck, who were welcomed to practice in front of the team by NIU Head Coach Dave Doeren, said they remain Huskies, follow the team and look forward to the 2011 season.