Mike Cagley, IlliniGuy
July 4, 2022
All photos in this article including the cover are courtesy of Mark Jones, the University of Illinois Official Sports Photographer
In Illini Athletics circles, it's hard to find folks who've been around the program long enough to build a bridge from the Henson-White-Stoner era of the 80s all the way to the Underwood-Bielema-Whitman era of today. Sure, there's Loren Tate, but he's been around the program since his father took him to games back in the 40's. Beyond Loren's nearly infinite span of influence around Illini athletics, it's hard to find someone who has had a continuous presence with the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Illinois since 1988. Mark Jones is one of those few.
He earned his title, the University of Illinois Official Sports Photographer, in 1988 through his retirement on June 30, 2022. That's an impressive run by any standard, especially when you take a look at all the changes the collegiate sporting world has dealt with over that span of time and add to it all of changes in the technology around photography. Consider all of that and you've got a guy who's managed to stay on the cutting edge for nearly 35 years. More importantly, Mark Jones is a man who earned the opportunity to build relationships with the head coaches who led Illini football and basketball teams, most of the key players, and the Athletic Directors who've driven the Illinois Athletics program. Mark's pictures would chronicle this era and become a large part of the Illini sports mythology. His presence at Illini football and basketball games was almost an institutional requirement.
Mark is one of the most engaging personalities in Illini athletics and as good as his photography is, he may have missed a dual calling. He would have been a fantastic talk radio host in his non-photography related hours. If you want to hear stories from Mark, please look for our "I on the Illini" podcast. We have two episodes dedicated to interviewing this Illini legend. The first is out today, July 4th. Part 2 is due on July 6.
Here are a few pictures that Mark supplied for folks to see selected photos. Some photos you might remember, there might be a few that you haven't seen, and most will make you smile.
These were just a tiny sampling of the photos that have helped define the Illini's victories over the last 30+ years. So many of these memories were framed for the future by Mark's camera capturing the image for us to remember these great moments. There's a story behind those pictures and you can get a few of those by listening to the two-part podcast on the "I on the Illini" brought to you by the IlliniGuys. Part 1 releases on July 4 and Part 2 on July 6.
Illini Collapse at Penn State 90-89 #331Listen
Victory Over Maryland 85-80 #330Listen
Quick Response - Illini Win at Maryland #329Listen
Feb 16 Weekend (S3,Ep27)Listen
Illini Destroy Michigan 97-68 #328Listen
Disappointing 8 Minutes Leads to MSU Loss #327Listen
Feb 9 Weekend (S3,Ep26)Listen
Special Episode - NCAA & Court Battles #326Listen
Illini over Huskers 87-84 in OT #325Listen
Nebraska Basketball Preview #324Listen
IlliniGuys Sports Spectacular - Feb 2 Weekend (S3,Ep25)Listen
Illini 87-75 Road Win vs tOSU #323Listen
Illini Win 70-62 Over Indiana #322Listen
Illini vs Indiana Preview #321Listen
Jan 26 Weekend (S3,Ep24)Listen