July 23, 2008
DeKALB, Ill. - Over the last 60 years, Bob Brigham and his family have blazed a trail for Northern Illinois Athletics. Today, that trailblazing legacy continues with the announcement that Bob Brigham, Jr., son of one of the legendary patriarchs of Huskie athletics and a tremendous supporter of NIU throughout his life, has finalized a $500,000 total gift commitment that will permanently name the Brigham Family Victory Plaza.
Located between the new Jeffrey and Kimberly Yordon Center and the north end zone of Brigham Field at Huskie Stadium, the Brigham Family Victory Plaza fittingly provides the pathway to success for hundreds of Huskie student-athletes every day.
"Bob Brigham, Jr. and his wonderful family have once again paved the way to success for our institution and our athletics program," said Jeff Compher, NIU Associate Vice President / Director of Athletics. "As we prepare to complete the private funding portion of the Yordon Center and begin to address additional capital improvements, this is truly a legacy gift in the annals of Huskie Athletics."
Brigham Jr.'s gift is the fourth-largest private donation to Northern Illinois Athletics in the institution's history and will be used to assist in the private funding of athletic capital projects. His hope is that the gift will inspire others to support NIU.
"It is an honor and privilege for me to make this gift to Northern Illinois University and Huskie Athletics," Brigham, Jr. said. "Our family's longstanding relationship and history with NIU made this decision a relatively easy one. We love NIU and Huskie Athletics and want to do all we can to support a first-class program. Hopefully, this commitment influences and inspires others to make similar, or perhaps even larger, gifts."
Brigham, Jr. and his family have a long association with Northern Illinois Athletics, dating back to his father, Bob Brigham, Sr., who served NIU for 46 years as a coach and administrator, including nearly 20 years as the school's athletic director from 1968 to 1987. During that time, he ushered Huskie football into the major college (Division I-A) realm in 1969 and was instrumental in Northern Illinois joining the Mid-American Conference in 1973. Brigham Sr. also served NIU as head wrestling coach from 1956-60 and again from 1962-68 as he coached 11 All-Americans and five national champions.
A three-year letterwinner in football, Brigham Sr. was one of the greatest blocking backs in Northern Illinois gridiron history as a member of the fabled "Pony Backfield." He set the school's single-game (242 yards vs. Washburn in 1948), single-season (786 yards in 1948), and career (1,221 yards in 1947-49) rushing records.
He was elected to the NIU Physical Education Hall of Fame in 1987 and the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989. Brigham Field was dedicated in his name prior to the Huskies' 2003 football opener vs. Maryland.
For more information on giving to Huskie Athletics and other naming opportunities, contact the Huskie Athletic Scholarship Fund at 815-753-1923.
-- NIU --