Fred Huff's storied sareer lands him in St. Louis hall of fame
Fred Huff has become something of a local legend in Illinois.
From Du Quoin resident to athletic assistant to sports information director for Southern Illinois University, Huff has always beamed with local pride in successful work. Now he has one more title to add to his impressive resume: St. Louis Hall of Famer.
Huff was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame in early February, bolstering the already mammoth list of Hall of Fame's his name is attached to. This is Fred's sixth hall induction, with the previous five being Southern Illinois University, the Missouri Valley Conference, the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association, the College Sports Information Directors of America, and Du Quoin High School.
Huff's most famed accomplishment was serving as SIU's sports information director for a term that spanned more than three decades.
“Fred was a pioneer in the field of sports information," Tom Weber, associate AD of media services for SIU, told SE Illinois News. "He served as sports information director for SIU for 35 years and was a cornerstone of the Athletic Department during their growth years, when they moved from small college to Division I status in the late 1960s."
Huff was in a position of power during a very important period of change and growth was coming for the Salukis. He served as a mentor, a fountain of facts, and a consistent voice as SIU was preparing to expand and evolve into the respected program it is today. His attention to detail and vast array of statistics and organizational skills propelled SIU during his run.
"He chronicled and promoted some of the University's greatest sports achievements," Weber said, "from the 1967 NIT Basketball Championship to the 1983 National Football Championship, the great Men's Gymnastics teams of the 1960's and 70’s, and College World Series appearances by Saluki Baseball."
He held that position from 1977 through 2001, but he started plying his craft at the Du Quoin Evening Call newspaper at age 18. Through meeting other journalists and sports editors, he got the job at Southern Illinois. But his attention to sports facts didn't end there, as he also wrote a book on such matter.
"Fred authored a 416-page book, 'Saluki Sports History...100 Years of Facts and Highlights,' that spans facts and pictures from 1892 to 2005," Weber said. "He used the proceeds to create an endowed graduate assistantship in the office, which we continue to benefit from to this day."
Though retired now, Huff still keeps active at 88 years young by writing weekly columns for local newspapers, and still proudly supports the Salukis at their sporting events.