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Jim Hart Illinois
Photo of Jim Hart

A graduate of Southern Illinois University - Carbondale and perhaps the most prominent figure in the history of Saluki football, Jim Hart is now an associate in the Chancellor's Office at SIU after serving as the Athletic Director. Hart's record-setting days on the gridiron for the Salukis from 1963-65 and a brilliant 19-year career with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Redskins in the NFL precede him.

The popular Hart, who was appointed SIU's ninth AD on July 5, 1988, provided Saluki athletics with added national recognition and an immediate boost in funding. He raised $86,000 in his first 50 days on the job and orchestrated increases of 18 percent or more for all varsity sports, while making 150 personal appearances in his first year on the job. Hart served as chief financial officer for SIU-C's $4 million program, which provides opportunities for over 400 male and female athletes in 18 sports, and supervised a 75-member staff of coaches and support personnel.

Jim has assumed leadership roles for numerous charitable organizations through the years. In 1974 he won the Byron "Whizzer" White NFLPA Humanitarian Award and in 1980 was the recipient of the Brain Piccolo Award which is a National YMCA Humanitarian Award for the most civic-minded athlete in professional sports. In the St. Louis area, he has been general chairman of the American Heart Association drive and co-chair of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Read-a-thon. He has been closely associated with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 1968. Finally, he has been a longstanding patron of the YMCA, St. Louis-area Senior Olympics and the SIU-C sponsored Special Olympics.

A member of the SIU-C Hall of Fame, the heralded quarterback still holds 4 school records, including those in passing for most touchdowns in a game (3), season (14) and a career (34). In the NFL he won Player of the Year honors in 1974, was the Cardinals' MVP three years, and an All Pro Bowl choice four times. He still ranks No. 5 all-time behind only Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Dan Fouts and Dan Marino in three NFL passing categories.

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