ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University athletic department is pleased to announce the upcoming induction of four new members into the Chuck DeWild Athletic Hall of Fame. This year's induction ceremony will take place on Saturday, November 3 in Regents Hall. The four individuals set to be inducted include Heidi Burkhart (Basketball), Troy DeCook (Basketball), Marcus Howard (Football) and Jimmy Dercks (Baseball). The Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame was established in 1980 and currently has 53 members. To see a complete list of all of those who have been enshrined please click here, and for more information about this year's class please read below.
Heidi Burkhart, Women's Basketball 1999-02
Heidi Burkhart enters the Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame as one of the top female athletes in Rockford University history, and was a major reason behind the turnaround of the women's basketball program in the early 2000s. Rockford won 49 games and posted back-to-back second place finishes in the Northern Illinois Iowa Conference (NIIC) during Burkhart's three years as a Regent, after winning just six games in the previous three seasons combined. In the 2000-01 season, the Regents earned their second ever berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament, with their other trip coming during the 1986-87 season.
Burkhart's accolades extend over all three of her seasons as a Regent. She was named Northern Illinois Iowa Conference Player of the Week multiple times in her career; as well as being selected to the D3hoops.com National Team of the Week. During that week, Burkhart averaged 28 points on a blistering 62% shooting from the floor including connecting on 6-of-12 from three-point range. She was also 22-of-29 at the free throw line. In addition to her weekly awards, Burkhart was also a three-time All-NIIC performer and was voted the 2000-01 NIIC Player of the Year. Her performance on the court also turned heads at the national level. Burkhart was named a Fourth Team All-American in 1999-00, a Third Team All-American in 2000-01 and was both a Second Team All-Region selection and an Honorable Mention All-American in 2001-02. Being recognized as an All-American during each of her three seasons at Rockford is an amazing honor, as it means she was one of the top-25 NCAA Division III women's basketball players in the entire country each year. At the conclusion of her collegiate career, Burkhart held ten Rockford University records, two of which still stand today. She is still the RU career leader in made free throws (431) and the single-game steals leader (10). Burkhart finished her career with 1,585 points, 386 rebounds, 243 assists, 224 steals and 41 blocks. Her 1,585 points ranks second all-time at Rockford University.
Troy DeCook, Men's Basketball 1999-03
Troy DeCook becomes the first member of the 2002-03 men's basketball hall of fame team to be individually enshrined in the Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame. DeCook was a four-year member of the Rockford University men's basketball program which steadily improved in each of his four seasons. The Regents won the Northern Illinois Iowa Conference (NIIC) in both his junior and senior seasons. DeCook was a focal point of the 2002-03 team that went 24-4, including a perfect 12-0 mark in conference play, and earned its first ever at-large berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
DeCook made a profound impact on the Rockford University men's basketball team and was a key reason why the Regents won back-to-back NIIC Championships and hosted an NCAA Division III Tournament game. He was selected First Team All-NIIC in both his junior and senior seasons, and was the 2002-03 Northern Illinois Iowa Conference Player of the Year. DeCook's collegiate career culminated with an outstanding senior season in which he was named all-region and First Team All-Midwest District by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). In his senior year, DeCook scored 453 points, grabbed 192 rebounds, recorded 85 assists and had 56 steals, all of which were career-highs. DeCook finished his four-year career with 1,008 points, 503 rebounds, 222 assists and 158 steals. He is currently a member of a trio of elite Rockford University men's basketball clubs and holds the RU single-game assists record (19). DeCook is one of just twenty-three Regents to eclipse 1,000 points, one of fifteen individuals with over 500 rebounds and one of only thirteen men's basketball players with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in the program's 63-year history.
Jimmy Dercks, Baseball 2009-12
Jimmy Dercks enters the Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame following a highly-successful four-year career as the starting shortstop for the Rockford University baseball program. The Regents posted a 72% winning percentage in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC) during his four years as a Regent. Rockford went 17-5 in the NACC three times, winning one conference championship, finishing second once and making a trio of trips to the NACC Tournament. Overall Rockford won at least 23 games three times during that span, including a pair of 27-win seasons.
Dercks is one of the most decorated four-year RU baseball players in recent history, earning awards and honors throughout his entire time as a Regent. Dercks was named the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Freshman of the Year, a member of the NACC All-Freshman Team and was twice voted First Team All-NACC. His senior season was especially impressive as he earned multiple weekly awards and additional postseason recognition at the national level. Dercks was named both the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Position Player of the Week and was selected as the shortstop for the D3baseball.com National Team of the Week during the second week in April. Rockford went 6-1 during that span with Dercks leading the charge with two four-hit games and a pair of three-hit games. The senior shortstop tallied 17 hits including 8 doubles and a home run out of the leadoff spot in the order, while recording a .586 batting average, a .966 slugging percentage and driving in 13 runs. After the conclusion of his senior season, Dercks was named First Team All-Midwest Region by both D3baseball.com and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA). Dercks still holds four Rockford University records and is in the top-10 in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference in eight different career categories. He is Rockford's all-time career leader in hits (228) and assists (457) and holds the RU records for runs in a game (5) and assists in a game (9). Dercks is also currently in the top-10 in the NACC for a career in hits (228), batting average (.385), on-base percentage (.464), runs batted in (140), triples (10), total bases (324), walks (86) and sacrifice flies (19).
Marcus Howard, Football 2000-03
Marcus Howard becomes the first member of the Rockford University football program to be enshrined in the Chuck DeWild Hall of Fame. Howard played on the inaugural football team in 2000 and was a major reason for the program's early success. In his senior season in 2003, the Regents posted a 7-3 overall record, a program-high for wins in a season, and finished second in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference South Division.
To this day, Howard remains one of the most decorated football players in school history. Howard currently holds 18 school records and has two of Rockford's four 1,000 yard single-season rushing performances. Howard is also the only Regent to rush for more than 300 yards in a game, a feat which he accomplished on two separate occasions. His stranglehold on the RU football record book includes holding the single-game, single-season and career records in six different categories. Howard's records include: rushing yards (343 game, 1,413 season, 3,276 career), rushing attempts (43 game, 248 season, 650 career), rushing touchdowns (5 game, 17 season, 34 career), all-purpose yards (363 game, 1,497 season, 3,954 career), total touchdowns (5 game, 17 season, 35 career) and points (30 game, 102 season, 210 career). Howard's performance on the field throughout his career earned him both regional and national recognition. He was twice named UMAC Offensive Player of the Week as well as being named the Don Hansen Football Gazette NCAA Division III National Co-Offensive Player of the Week. His first national weekly honor came as a freshman when Howard racked up 343 yards on 43 attempts and scored 3 touchdowns. His other national weekly honor came during his senior season when he carried the ball 29 times for 326 yards and 5 touchdowns in Rockford's 105-0 win against Trinity Bible. Howard also received First Team All-UMAC South honors both his junior and senior seasons, as well as being named the UMAC South Division Offensive Player of the Year in 2003. His outstanding senior season was then capped off when he was voted to the Football Gazette NCAA Division III All-North Region Third Team.