The 35th University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Athletics Hall of Fame class was recently inducted by Director of Athletics David Harris.
The group included the 2009-10 UNI men’s basketball Sweet-16 team, which featured Marquette High School basketball star and Bellevue native Jordan Eglseder.
Eglseder, who was listed at over seven feet tall, along with his Marquette teammates, finished second in the Class 1A State Basketball Tournament in 2005, when Eglseder was named Co-Captain of the Class 1A All-State team and MVP of the All-Tournament team.
According to UNI Athletic Hall of Fame officials, the 2009-10 UNI Men's Basketball team Eglseder played with is the most successful team in program history with the deepest run into the NCAA Tournament, but most Panther fans define that team by the upset over Overall No. 1 seed Kansas in the second round of March Madness. The Panthers went 30-5 overall in the season, including a 15-game win streak, and a 15-3 record in Missouri Valley Conference play to run away with the regular-season title. UNI captured wins over Old Dominion, Boston College, Iowa State and Iowa in the regular season and rolled through the MVC tournament, winning by at least 15 points in each game.
The Panthers earned the No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA tournament and opened with a 69-66 win over UNLV in the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. The Panthers faced the heavily favored Jayhawks in the second round but didn't back down. UNI controlled the game from the opening tip, building an early 10-2 lead.
KU couldn't muster a response until the final minutes. When they did climb back into the game, their hopes were dashed by Ali Farokhmanesh and one of the gutsiest shots in NCAA tournament history, a dagger three-pointer with 30 seconds left on the shot clock and just 37 seconds to play. The win propelled UNI to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history where they fell to Michigan State in a hard-fought battle. Adam Koch was named the Missouri Valley Larry Bird Trophy (MVP) winner and the Eagle Bank & Trust Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Lucas O'Rear earned the Sixth-Man Award and coach Ben Jacobson was named the MVC Coach of the Year.
Koch was named to the MVC First Team and Jordan Eglseder was named to the Second Team. Kwadzo Ahelegbe was named to the All-Defensive Team.
“This year’s UNI Hall of Fame class earned national championships and All-American honors. Their names appear throughout our record books and the men’s basketball win over Kansas in the NCAA tournament brought UNI to a new level of national recognition,” Harris said. “But more than their impact to Panther Athletics, they’ve continued to impact their respective communities into their careers. We are proud to have these outstanding people as alumni of the University of Northern Iowa and more proud to call them Panthers.”
Jordan is the son of Jerry Eglseder and Ann Jacobs, both of Bellevue.