Earlier this month, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Intercultural Affairs Cecil Youngblood was inducted into his alma mater’s athletic Hall of Fame. As part of Augustana College’s homecoming festivities, Youngblood and six other former Augustana athletes were inducted into the Tribe of Vikings Hall of Fame.
Nine members of the Hall of Fame committee make their decision about athletes to honor with this distinction based on the criteria of athletic excellence, and at least a 10-year time lapse from the athlete’s graduation from Augustana.
A clear candidate for this honor, Youngblood was the last athlete to captain both the football and basketball teams at Augustana. He earned a total of seven varsity letters before graduating in 1976, experiencing considerable success in both sports.
As a four-year football letterman, Youngblood led the Vikings to a 25-10-1 overall record in his career as a tight end and split end; in his three letter-winning seasons of basketball, Youngblood was a key contributor in helping his team reach a 68-19 record, a conference championship and two NCAA Division III Final Four appearances in 1975 and 1976. Seventeen years later, he was back at the Final Four with the Augustana Vikings as an assistant coach for the 1993 team, which finished second.
Youngblood’s football career continued after his time at Augustana. He had pre-season stints with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1979 and 1980. Although he didn’t make the team’s regular season roster, he chronicled his experience in the book, Training Camp, which he co-authored with writer C.J. Mack.
Beloit is now his home, and has been for the past 16 years. Along with his current titles, Youngblood also served as Beloit’s men’s basketball head coach, from 1997-2007.
Being chosen as one of the newest members of the Tribe of Vikings Hall of Fame has been a surreal experience for Youngblood. “To be considered with those who were inducted with me and before me is even more so a feeling of honor, privilege, definitely humbling,” he says. “It is something that is still difficult to grasp."
A week before his own induction, Youngblood had the opportunity to introduce Henry Grant, one of his former basketball players, at the Beloit Hall of Honor ceremony. This coincidence lead Youngblood to realize the impact athletics have had on his life. “Sports did more than enhance my life. Sports gave me a path to my education and opportunity for a life and a career,” he says.