It was a special fall for Redbird wide receiver Scott Kuehn, and not just because of football.

For the first time since elementary school, he and his younger siblings, Stephanie and Justin, were all attending the same school during the fall 2014 semester. Among other perks, it made one of the Kuehn family’s biggest traditions—supporting Scott’s team and tailgating—a whole lot easier.

Three Redbirds with one stone, as Stephanie puts it.

“It’s awesome. I’ve gotten to see the kids every weekend,” said Lida Kuehn, their mom. “It makes it easy.”

Illinois State’s championship season is a dream come true for Scott, a fifth-year senior who’s been playing football since sixth grade. When he got to high school, football became a family activity. His mom and dad (John Kuehn) became leaders of a parent support group at Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, coordinating team meals and an off-season training program for the players.

Kuehn family poses

From left, Scott, Lida, Justin, and Stephanie Kuehn at the Redbird team hotel January 9, 2015, in Texas.

“We rolled up our sleeves and dug in,” Lida said.

They took that passion and rolled it into the Redbirds. And while Scott was recruited to play for Illinois State, it was Stephanie who wanted to come to Normal first. She wanted to be a teacher and knew about Illinois State’s nationally known teacher-education program.

“It seemed like a great fit,” said Stephanie, a junior middle level math education major and history minor. “It was far away enough from home, but not too far. And Bloomington-Normal is such a great town. It had everything I was looking for in a college.”

“I followed her, two years ahead of her,” jokes Scott.

Scott and Stephanie didn’t pressure Justin into choosing Illinois State, but he fell in love with the campus during his countless weekend visits. He’s an undeclared freshman, but may pursue exercise science like his brother.

“I spent so much time here, it just felt like instinct,” Justin said.

Kuehn family in N.H.

Lida and Stephanie Kuehn at the FCS playoff game in New Hampshire on December 20, 2014.

Buzz about Redbird football has been all over campus this season. That increased awareness has been fun for Stephanie and Justin, who attend every game and tailgate with their parents and friends.

The entire family (except for dad John, who was still traveling) spoke to STATEside on Friday at the team hotel in Texas. The entire family even made the trip to New Hampshire for the historic semifinal playoff win December 20.

“I’m in a sorority (Alpha Gamma Delta), and so all the girls think it’s the coolest thing to know someone on the football team,” said Stephanie, president of the sorority. She’s also on the Dean of Students Advisory Board.

“It’s exciting to see the camaraderie at the school now and to be able to be part of it, and to be excited for my school and my brother,” she added.

Ryan Denham can be reached at