By | Diego Linares
Todd Eagle stands before a podium, drawing back tears during parts of his speech, he receives his hall of fame plaque and walks into a crowd standing for his ovation.
As a former defensive lineman for the Humboldt State University football team, he said that the program changed his life. During his speech, Eagle talked about his troubled past, the current condition of the football program; as well as, the impact it has had on students.
“I wanted to touch some people based on what’s going on with athletics now at HSU,” Eagle said. “So, what better way to talk about all the things that I’ve been through, and how HSU was a part of that net to keep me from falling down.”
HSU honored six former athletes and one administrator by welcoming them into the Athletic Department’s Hall of Fame on Friday in the Kate Buchanon Room within the University Center.
Former Athletic Director Chuck Lindemenn, two-sport athlete Tom DiMercurio, defensive lineman Eagle, softball shortstop Terry Marroquin, track and field runners Megan Rolland and Jasper Peach, as well as softball catcher Marissa Slattery all spent time with the microphone sharing stories and jokes.
Marroquin was another athlete who spoke about having a tough past before leaving home to be a student at HSU. Coming from Los Angeles, Marroquin said that she was raised by the streets and found a welcoming environment when making the trip to Northern California.
“You’re not sure where you fit in,” Marroquin said . “It’s totally the opposite. You come here, you see cows and redwood trees.”
Marroquin went from being named to the Los Angeles Times Softball All-Star selection in 1995, to receiving a hall of fame induction from her alma mater on Friday. She now works with foster youth as a social worker in Humboldt County.
Lindemenn took time during his speech to comment on the condition of the football team. The former athletic director, and first ever Axe Major for the HSU marching band, even made light of the situation.
“If you drop football, what the hell are the Marching Lumberjacks going to do?” Lindemenn said.
As soon as Lindemenn was done with his speech, the doors swung open and in came the Marching Lumberjacks to make a cameo appearance to honor the hall of famer.
Current interim athletic director Duncan Robins said that the inductees were spectacular in their time and that it was of importance to be able to enjoy and reflect on their storytelling.
“In any institution, it’s really important to have history and to celebrate that history. That’s how you start to build culture and understand who you are,” Robins said. “So, to have them come back here and tell what it was like in the past – and the values they had when they playing – and reflect on that is really important.”
Among the athletes’ accomplishments were national titles, countless personal awards, records and achievements, as well as one being the smartest male athlete to graduate from HSU.
Eagle graduated Humboldt State having the highest grade point average of any male athlete at 3.902. He said that student athlete just have to embrace the grind.
“I knocked on doors during office hours, even if that door was shut. Then I sat there and made sure they saw me. If they didn’t want to see me, I gave them my number. If they didn’t want to call me, I emailed them. So, I just kept going,” Eagle said.
The inductees were also honored at midfield during halftime of the homecoming football game between Humboldt State and Azusa Pacific University.