Pashos Gives Back to Illini Football

Tony Pashos with wife, Michelle, and daughter, Eleni, outside the Tony Pashos Offensive Lineman Meeting Room.
Tony Pashos with wife, Michelle, and daughter, Eleni, outside the Tony Pashos Offensive Lineman Meeting Room.

Nov. 9, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Former University of Illinois standout offensive lineman Tony Pashos and his wife, Michelle, were honored in a ceremony on Friday at the 77 Club inside Memorial Stadium for their donation to establish the Tony Pashos Offensive Lineman Meeting Room. Pashos becomes the first naming rights holder of a position room in the Memorial Stadium complex.

"It was important for my wife and me to give back to the university for what it's given us," Pashos said. "You can't even measure that. We believe that it's important to give back now, especially when the team isn't doing as well, because the football team needs the alumni and people like us to give back and show our appreciation for what they've done for us.

"Obviously, (assistant coach) Luke (Butkus) is a really good friend, and Coach (Tim) Beckman and Mike Thomas are very warm with the alumni and former players. It just all came together at the right time. My wife and I are so appreciative of what the U of I has given to us."

Pashos was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2001 and 2002, as he helped lead the Illini to the 2001 Big Ten championship and berth in the 2002 Sugar Bowl. He finished his career with 47 games started, the second-most in school history at the time, and was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, graduating with a degree in history.

Pashos helped Illinois to the 2001 Big Ten title and a berth in the Sugar Bowl.

"We are very grateful for Tony and Michelle's gift, and their dedication to our athletic department and football program," Illinois director of athletics Mike Thomas said. "Tony was a great player at Illinois and has had an impressive career in the NFL, and we are thrilled by his continued support of our mission to provide a superior experience for our student-athletes and compete for championships at the highest level."

He anchored an offensive line that helped pave the way for 390 points, 32.5 points per game, 5,041 yards of total offense and 1.33 sacks allowed per game in 2001, all of which were school records at the time. And with Pashos as a captain in 2002, the Illini set school records for 5,356 yards of total offense and 446.3 yards of total offense per game. Pashos also helped lead the way for Antoineo Harris' school-record season of 1,330 rushing yards in 2002, and Kurt Kittner's record-breaking 27 touchdown passes in 2001.

"I am extremely excited about and thankful for the gift from Tony and his wife, Michelle," Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said. "It shows the great love that he has for this university and this football program, and we appreciate that a great deal. Tony was one of the best, most durable offensive linemen in Illini history, so it only makes sense to have his name on our offensive line meeting room."

Pashos has enjoyed a nine-year NFL career after being selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the fifth-round of the 2003 NFL Draft. He played four seasons for the Ravens, two for Jacksonville Jaguars, one for the San Francisco 49ers and two for the Cleveland Browns.