J. Russell Steele

Year Inducted: 2000

Category: Media

Schools / Organizations: Illinois State University

Biography: Russell Steele was Illinois State’s first Sports Information Director and he represented the athletics program with distinction for 20 years from 1947-66. The Roseville native also taught physical education classes and coached the 1950 tennis team to a conference championship. He heralded the efforts of three of ISU’s greatest coaches – Joe Cogdal, Pim Goff and Jim Collie.  Steele pioneered record keeping, game programs, sports brochures, press box services and the use of photography, including movies, for basketball and other sports. Steele expanded the effectiveness of his office through the resourceful use of student assistants, providing an educational opportunity that helped them become leaders in coaching, teaching and business. His work in filming athletic events was of great value to area coaches. Along with his work for the ISU staff, Steele often helped area high schools.  Steele became assistant director of the University News Service from 1966-75 and editor and assistant director of Alumni Services from 1975-81. He is a member of the ISU Athletics Hall of Fame and received the Stretch Miller Friends of Sports Award from ISU in 1981.  Russell died on July 19, 2014 at the age of 93.