Private support keeps student in class, on field
Kyle Avaloy knew he wanted to go to college, but he also knew that affording it would be a challenge.
Avaloy, a senior offensive lineman on Illinois State’s football team, is the recipient of the James R. Tague Endowed Scholarship. The Tague Scholarship, along with Avaloy’s athletic ability, turned possibility into reality.
“It’s a huge blessing for me,” Avaloy said. “It’s always hard to find money for school. I feel lucky and fortunate to have a chance to get my education paid for. It’s a dream of every kid.”
The scholarship was established in 2015 through the generosity of the Tague family to honor Jim’s memory. One of his loves was Illinois State, which in 1990 inducted him into the Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame for his football achievements. A 1959 graduate, he remained a loyal Redbird supporter all his life.
The scholarship is awarded to a student-athlete in good standing who has shown a high level of integrity and morality, is in the final year of athletic eligibility, and is on schedule to graduate.
“Scholarships like the James R. Tague Endowed Scholarship are crucial to helping students with financial needs have access to higher education,” Athletics Director Larry Lyons said. “They’re also crucial in helping the University attract and retain talented students.”
Avaloy, from Lombard, is determined to excel as a student and athlete. He credits his mother, Stephanie, for his work ethic.
“She works hard every day, and she made a lot of sacrifices for me and my sister to be in this situation where we can go to school every day,” he said. “She’s mother of the year every year.”
She and the rest of the family members are excited for Avaloy’s opportunity. He feels a sense of duty to excel and be a strong role model.
“I have a little sister, Cheyenne, who will be 16 soon, and she kind of looks up to me,” he said. “So I kind of try to give her a positive vibe and set an example for her.”
Avaloy, wearing his No. 77 jersey, has started every game at left guard for the last two seasons. Standing 6-5 and weighing 320 pounds, it’s natural to dream of a potential future in the NFL. He knows he needs to complete his degree in sports management for the long run.
“If I can make it on the next level, that’s great if it works out, but I’ll be ready by having my education,” Avaloy said.
Jim Tague, a pretty good Redbird football player from another era, along with his family, would be happy to hear that.