New book chronicles Eastern Illinois football

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Updated: 8/19 2:34 pm

Charleston, IL ( - Names such as Tony Romo, Sean Payton, Mike Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo are familiar to football fans.

How about Burl Ives?

Yes, the American actor, writer and folk music singer was part of Eastern Illinois football as well.

Ives' story is part of author Dan Verdun's new book "EIU Football," which chronicles the history of the program. The book will be released next week.

Verdun, who graduated from EIU in 1988, tells the history of the Panthers, whose program includes two Walter Payton Award winners (Romo and Garoppolo) and the 1978 NCAA Division II national championship. His book also includes insight on topics such as rivalries, recruiting, the marching band and the Pink Panthers dance team.

The book's forward is written by former head coach Bob Spoo.

"EIU has become a top-notch college program while doing things the right way, and this book does an unbelievable job of capturing that journey," said Garoppolo, who led the Panthers to a No. 2 national FCS ranking during the 2013 season.

"EIU Football" will be released by Northern Illinois Press.

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