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Illini's Eason 'immortalized' in song

By PAM HUEY

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- University of Illinois quarterback Tony Eason has just about all the things he needs to be well known -- a good coach, a strong arm and quick feet. Now, he even has his own song.

'Champaign Tony' may not rise to the top of the music charts but it is an enthusiastic effort by a devoted Illini fan to show support for the All-America candidate in 1982.

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Guy M. Duker of Champaign, a retired professor of music at the U of I, got the idea for the song when he noticed the words 'Eason,' 'season' and 'reason' all rhymed.

'I wouldn't really call it composing. It's more like manufacturing a song,' Duker said. 'This is just fun.'

The tune isn't a familiar one but Duker doesn't think it should be difficult to learn. In fact, he plans to teach it to his fellow members of Rotary so they can sing it for Coach Mike White Aug. 23.

They also plan to sing another song composed last year by Duker, called 'The 80s Belong To The Illini.'

Duker, who has revised his song about Tony Eason several times, says the final copyright version goes like this:

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Champaign Tony, The one and only What a man with the pass. He's a great guy: His eagle sharp eye Will put our team on top at last. This is the season For Tony Eason And the Orange and Blue. That's the reason We're backing Eason For the Heisman in eighty-two

Duker said he doesn't think either Eason or White has heard the song. The debut at Rotary is supposed to be a surprise for White.

'But I don't suppose it will be much of a surprise now,' he said.

One thing that isn't surprising is that the quarterback from Walnut Grove, Calif., is getting a lot of attention in Champaign-Urbana these days. Eason set nine Big Ten records in his first season as starting quarterback at Illinois and a lot is expected this season.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound quarterback completed 248 of 406 pass attempts for 3,360 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.

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