From IWU Magazine, Fall 2012 edition

College Hall of Fame inductee Bisaillon recalls his Titan football years

Chris Bisaillon ’92 gets an assist from Steven Hatchell, president of the National Football Foundation, as he tries on his Hall of Fame jacket during induction ceremonies this July in South Bend, Ind.

In Titan lore, it is simply known as “The Catch.” In 1992, Chris Bisaillon made national headlines when he broke the all-time NCAA record with 55 touchdown catches — a record previously held by Jerry Rice when he played for Mississippi Valley State. Bisaillon even received a congratulatory phone call from Rice, who became a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

This summer, Bisaillon himself joined an elite group when he was inducted to the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame. Bisaillon is the second Titan to be named to the College Football Hall of Fame; lineman Tony Blazine, who played at Wesleyan from 1931–34, was inducted posthumously in 2002.

“I am flabbergasted, humbled and flattered,” says Bisaillon, who also tied a Division III record of 36 consecutive games with a reception. “I have so many great memories of playing at Wesleyan.” A two-time All-America honoree, Bisaillon set 11 school records and three conference records and was named the Championship USA Division III Football Senior Student-Athlete of the Year 1992.

“It is a great honor for Chris as an athlete and great recognition for Illinois Wesleyan,” says football coach Norm Eash ’75, who coached Bisaillon during college. “He was a very dominant Division III player in his career and was

Above, Bisaillon completes "The Catch" that set an NCAA record previously held by Jerry Rice.

instrumental in propelling IWU football into national prominence. He was also the ultimate student-athlete: a real scholar and team leader.”

Bisaillon gives much of the credit for his success to his teammates and coaches. “Wesleyan football gave me the ability to maximize both individual and team ability,” he says. “It can’t be overstated how important it was to have a great team around me, from the offensive side, the defensive side and the coaching staff. We all made each other better.”

He describes his Titan years “as Division III football at its finest. You know, we played for fun. We were there to go to school and there to learn and football was fun.”

Bisaillon was inducted during the Enshrinement Festival on July 20–21 at South Bend, Ind., as part of the Hall of Fame’s divisional class, which includes players and coaches from all divisions other than the Bowl subdivision.

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