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EIU To Retire Sean Payton's No. 18
CHARLESTON, Ill. – Eastern Illinois athletic director Barbara Burke has announced that Panther athletics will be retiring the number of former EIU quarterback and Super Bowl winning coach Sean Payton during the Panthers 2010 football home opener on Sept. 11 against Central Arkansas.
Payton was a quarterback at EIU from 1983-86 helping guide the Panthers to the NCAA FCS quarterfinals in 1986. He finished his playing days as the EIU career leader in total offense (10,298), passing yardage (10,655), pass completions (758) and touchdown passes (75). His career touchdown passes record was broken in 2002 by current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. During his career he had five games with 400 or more yards passing including a 509 yard effort against Saginaw Valley.
“We are honored to retire Coach (Sean) Payton’s No. 18 during this upcoming season,” said Burke. “He has been a great ambassador for Eastern Illinois not only with his success as a player on the field but also his accomplishments as a professional. We appreciate the fact that he could make time in busy schedule to return to campus for this ceremony.”
Payton is set to enter his fifth season as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints. He was named the NFL Coach of the Year in 2006 and last season led the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory. New Orleans will open the regular season on Thursday, Sept. 9 against the Minnesota Vikings allowing Payton to make the trip to Charleston before their next game takes place on Monday, Sept. 20 at San Francisco.
Senior wide receiver Charles Graves currently wears the No. 18 jersey and will be the final EIU player to wear the number. Last season Tony Romo’s No. 17 became the first Eastern Illinois football number retired during the Panthers homecoming win over Tennessee Tech on Oct. 17.
EIU currently has four other sport numbers retired in addition to Romo’s No. 17, they include: former NBA All-Star Kevin Duckworth’s No. 00, former MLB All-Star Marty Pattin’s No. 19, former women’s basketball standout Nancy Kassebaum’s No. 13, and former soccer player Erik Proffitt’s No. 19.
Season tickets for Eastern Illinois football are now on sale by calling (217) 581-2106 or by returning a ticket brochure available at local business. Single game tickets for the 2010 season will not go on sale until August 2.
Eastern Illinois Athletics