Inductees A native of Morton, Ill., Al Carius came to North Central in 1966 after two years as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois. As an undergraduate at Illinois, he was a two-time Big Ten Conference champion in cross country, and he added three Big Ten two-mile titles in track. He continued to run competitively until 1968, and at the end of the 1966 season, had the fifth-best time in the United States in the 3,000- meter steeplechase (8:48-plus, run at the Kentucky Relays).
Carius has established a dynasty in cross country and track and field at North Central. His cross country teams have won 13 national titles, including three championships in a row (1997, 1998, 1999), and finished runner-up 13 times in 36 years of NCAA Division III competition. Cardinal teams have won 37 consecutive College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin (CCIW) Cross Country Championships and 44 of 51 overall.
North Central has six NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field titles and three NCAA Division III Indoor Track and Field titles. The Cardinals have won 33 CCIW Outdoor Track & Field Championships (out of 65 that have been contested) and all 11 CCIW Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Carius and his coaching staff have produced 103 All-Americans and seven individual national champions in cross country and more than 300 All-Americans and 43 national champions in track and field. In addition, Cardinal athletes still hold six national records.
Carius was honored as cross country Coach of the Century as well as being named NCAA Division III Cross Country Coach of the Year in 1993, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2011. He is also a member of the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Hall of Fame, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame and the Drake Relays Hall of Fame. In October 2006, he became an honorary alumnus of North Central.
He, his wife, Pam, and their children, live in Naperville.
A native of Morton, Ill., Al Carius came to North Central in 1966 after two years as a graduate assistant at the University of Illinois. As an undergraduate at Illinois, he was a two-time Big Ten Conference champion in cross country, and he added three Big Ten two-mile titles in track. He continued to run competitively until 1968, and at the end of the 1966 season, had the fifth-best time in the United States in the 3,000- meter steeplechase (8:48-plus, run at the Kentucky Relays).
A two-sport star (baseball and basketball) at both Limestone High School and Illinois Central College, Thome went on to a legendary baseball career as one of the top sluggers in Major League Baseball history. A 13th-round selection by the Cleveland Indians in 1989, Thome made his MLB debut in 1991. After a 22-year career with Indians, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins and Baltimore Orioles, Thome ranks seventh in Major League history with 612 home runs and 24th with 1,699 runs batted in, while boasting a .276 career batting average. He was a five-time All-Star and received Most Valuable Player votes in nine different seasons. Thome helped Cleveland to World Series appearances in both 1995 and 1997 and he hit 17 career postseason home runs. Thome led the American League in slugging in 2002 (.677) and the National League with 47 home runs in 2003 and he received a 1996 Silver Slugger Award. Thome also was the 2006 Americal League Comeback Player of the Year. Recognized for his integrity, sportsmanship and community involvement, Thome received the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2001 and 2004, as well as the 2002 Roberto Clemente Award and the 2004 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The Cleveland organization dedicated a statue of Thome outside Progressive Field following his official retirement in 2014.