September 30, 2005

Fred Huff honored for distinguished service

by Greg Scott


Caption follows story

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A longtime Saluki athletics official respected for his devotion to the betterment of a University he served for many years and public service in his community has won the 2005 Alumni Achievement Award for Distinguished Service at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Fred A. Huff of Du Quoin received the honor at a Homecoming luncheon hosted by the SIU Alumni Association and SIU Foundation Board of Directors today (Friday, Sept. 30) in the SIUC Student Center.

The award recognizes SIUC alumni and friends for exemplary service to the SIU Alumni Association and the University.

Since arriving on campus more than 45 years ago, Huff has exhibited a passion for promoting and serving the University. Although he left his position as sports information director at the University to begin a seven-year managerial role at the Du Quoin State Fair in 1971, Huff's love for Southern and student-athletes he encountered was unwavering. He returned to the program as assistant athletics director in 1977, under former athletics director and NFL Hall of Famer Gale Sayers. Huff began his duties as SIUC's chief athletics publicist shortly thereafter.

During his tenure as sports information director at Southern, Huff promoted some of the University's most historic sports moments. With his wife, Ann, assisting him on many occasions at courtside or in the press box, Huff publicized events such as the 1983 National Championship football season, 1967 Walt Frazier-led NIT Championship basketball team, the longtime dominance of Southern's powerful gymnastics squads in the 1960s and 1970s, and World Series appearances by the Saluki baseball team. Huff recently authored a 416-page book, "SALUKI SPORTS HISTORY … 100 Years of Facts & Highlights," chronicling the University's proud athletic history in facts, figures, highlights and photos ranging from 1892 to 2005. He has also been inducted into the SIUC Sports Hall of Fame.

Huff has also been an ambassador for the SIU Alumni Association. A life member of the Alumni Association, he formerly served on the organization's national board of directors and several standing committees including athletics, homecoming, membership retention, publications and public information. The Huffs are perennial supporters of the Perry County Alumni Chapter and were honored for their years of service to the group at an awards banquet this month.

According to Executive Director Ed Buerger, "Fred Huff is respected in his profession, but is also revered for the many lives of young student-athletes, student workers, interns and assistants he has touched over the years. He has guided a countless number of SIU graduates to future success in the public relations industry. Fred cares about former co-workers and staff long after they leave SIU."

Huff retired in 2001 after 35 years as SIUC's sports information director. Forty former assistants, interns, students, and University co-workers paid tribute to his long service at Southern by returning to Carbondale for a special tribute. Some guests traveled from as far away as Madison, Wis., and Columbus, Ohio.

Huff spends time extending his expertise to countless civic projects. He has received The "Citizen of the Year" award in Du Quoin. The Huffs are proud parents of three children, one grandchild, and two great grandchildren.

(Caption: Honored for service – Fred Huff of Du Quoin (left) accepts the 2005 Alumni Achievement Award for Distinguished Service from Sheri Hunter, president of the SIU Alumni Association. Huff was honored today (Friday, Sept. 30) during a luncheon on campus as part of Homecoming weekend festivities.)

Photo by Steve Buhman