Charles Benson
    Charles Benson

    Sport/Years/Inducted:
    Men's Basketball and Track/1965-69/1986


    One of the most successful SIU athletes to compete in two sports at the collegiate level, Benson came to Southern Illinois from Atlanta, Ga. After an impressive season as a member of SIU's freshman basketball team in 1966 (freshmen were not eligible for varsity competition at the time), Chuck was a key member of the fabulous 1967 team which won the National Invitation Tournament. Although not a starter, he was one of the first front-line reserves off the bench and collected 136 points and 94 rebounds as a sub. As a junior, Benson was SIU's second-leading scorer with 285 points and the team's rebounding leader with 205. As a senior, Chuck increased his point production to 334, again second best on the team, and again led in rebounds with 202 as he was a key factor in SIU making its second trip in just three years to the NIT. His career totals were 755 points and 601 rebounds, both among SIU's all-time leaders. While accumulating enough credentials in basketball alone to earn Hall of Fame consideration, Benson no doubt clinched the honor with an equally outstanding track career. As a sophomore in 1967, Chuck set a school record of :46.1 in the 440-yard dash while competing in the NCAA championship meet and placing fourth, a position worthy of All-America recognition. As a team, SIU placed seventh in final standings that season. In addition, Benson was a member of SIU's 440-yard and 880-yard relay teams which also set school records of :41.1 and 1:26.6, respectively that season. And, just one more item, he had a 6-8 high jump to his credit which happened to be second best in SIU's history at the time. The following season Chuck won the open 440 at the prestigious Drake Relays and had another sensational performance at the Illinois Intercollegiate meet held on the U. of I. campus when he won four wrist watches with firsts in as many events. Following graduation from SIU he launched a coaching career after having benefitted from competing under two of SIU's all-time greatest--Jack Hartman and Lew Hartzog.