The November issue of Illinois State magazine should be hitting your mailbox this week, if it hasn’t already. You can read every story on our new magazine website, at (Not getting the free print-edition magazine? Update your contact information and sign up now.)

I really dig the mix of stories in this issue, especially since the cover story about new men’s basketball coach Dan Muller ’98 comes at the perfect time, when campus buzz about Redbird hoops is off the charts.


Dan Muller

Redbird men’s coach Dan Muller.


In the cover story, local sportswriter Randy Kindred ’80 takes a look at the secret to Muller’s success—as a student, player and coach—and traces it back to his parents. The former Redbird great also talks about his expectations as a first-year head coach in Normal. “I want to win championships,” says Muller. “I want this experience for our players to be an unbelievable college experience. The only way to do that is to win.” Kindred’s profile is paired with some great photos of Muller, including a gallery of archived shots and some video of his playing days.


Christopher Goumas

“Conan” art alum Christopher Goumas.


I’m always impressed by Illinois State’s College of Fine Arts alumni, who pop up behind the scenes of movies, TV shows, plays and musicals all the time. But as a huge Conan O’Brien fan, this feature story on Christopher Goumas ’90 is extra special. The 44-year-old Illinois State art alum is the chief artistic design executive on Conan’s TBS show, and it’s quite a gig. Writer Tom Nugent opens the story with one of the many oddball requests Goumas has received from Conan’s writing staff – this time for a donkey wearing a “missile nose cone.” We’ve posted video from that episode of Conan, along with Nugent’s story, so you can get a feel for Goumas’ creative abilities.



Grounds and Fleet by the numbers

Grounds and Fleet By The Numbers.


Illinois State employees mow the equivalent of 14 home lawns each day during mowing season. I’m a sucker for a fun stat, and that one and many others are part of a fun, one-page Grounds and Fleet By the Numbers feature in November’s issue. You can take a look at the full PDF of the feature or spend a little time with the print version.

And elsewhere on our new magazine’s website, you can find our other regular features, such as Where Are They Now, Mailbag, Pause for Applause, Redbird Legacy, How We Met, and Alumni Photos.


Erin Mortimer

Biology major Erin Mortimer.


November’s issue also includes five personal stories from students who have directly benefited from scholarships and other financial gifts to the University. Our Advancement team’s Annual Report tells the impressive story of students like Erin Mortimer, a biology major who wanted to set herself apart before applying to competitive veterinary schools by being super-involved in student groups, internships and other activities. But that leaves little room for a part-time job, which is why the Dr. Fred Gletten Memorial Scholarship has been vital to her success. All five stories are worth a read, for those who already give and those who are considering giving back.

FYI: You can download the full PDF of the magazine and dump it onto your iPad or other tablet.

Ryan Denham can be reached at