25 years later

By Gus Bode

Nick Hill never accomplished it. Neither did Joel Sambursky. Jerry Kill fell two wins shy. And Arkee Whitlock failed to get the job done.But the only SIU football team to ever win a national championship in the program’s 94 years of existence will take center stage once again this weekend where the team’s quest first began a quarter century ago.The SIU Athletic Department will welcome its 1983 National Champion SIU football team back to Carbondale Saturday as it honors the 25th anniversary of the school’s first and only national championship.Throughout the week, the Daily Egyptian will take an in-depth look at the team and how it has affected the university since.Here is a look at what readers can expect in thecoming days.


A feature on two of the most influential figures during the magical 1983 title run: head coach Rey Dempsey and quarterback Rick Johnson.Johnson, who was granted an extra year of eligibility in 1983, took advantage of his fifth year at SIU and rewarded his veteran head coach with a national championship and offered hundreds of memories for thousands of SIU football fans.



A look at how the 1983 national championship helped shape the SIU Athletic Department as we know it today. Players, coaches and administrators weigh in on the importance of winning a national title and give insight into the grind of winning in the postseason.


A breakdown of the 1983 season. The Salukis won ten consecutive games before falling to Wichita State in the season finale. After a first round bye in the playoffs, SIU dominated in three postseason games and cruised to a 1983 Division I-AA National Championship.


A memorial poster in honor of the 1983 Division I-AA National Champion Salukis. The DAILY EGYPTIAN digs into its archives and pulls headlines, photos and clips from stories to give an impressive back page poster to commemorate the 1983 champions.



The 1983 championship team returns to McAndrew Stadium as the SIU Athletic Department honors its only national championship team in school history. More than half of the team is expected to be in attendance, including head coach Rey Dempsey and quarterback Rick Johnson. Game time is set for 6 p.m.