2024 GLIAC Football

Roosevelt University Football: What To Know About The New GLIAC Member

Roosevelt University Football: What To Know About The New GLIAC Member

Roosevelt University makes the move from NAIA to NCAA Div. II, joining the GLIAC in 2024. Get to know more about Lakers football.

Jul 2, 2024 by Kyle Kensing

Sweet home, Chicago now includes GLIAC football with the addition of Roosevelt University in 2024. 

Roosevelt joins the conference as a provisional NCAA Div. II member, making the transition from the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Proudly declared Chicago's Only Div. II team, get to know more about the Windy City's addition to both this level of football and the GLIAC. 

Roosevelt Football Initially Competed Under The Banner of Robert Morris University Illinois

Its distinction as an NCAA program isn't the only new element for Roosevelt University football. Until 2020, the Lakers played for nine seasons as the Robert Morris University Illinois Eagles. 

Jared Williamson was tabbed the program's first head coach in 2010, one year before the Eagles' inaugural season. He remains the only head coach in program history, guiding RMU Illinois football amid the school's merger with Roosevelt University in 2020. 

The Lakers posted a record of .500 or better in eight seasons of NAIA play, including 3-of-4 since the rebrand under the Roosevelt banner. 

The First Graduating Class In Program History Put Together Winning Streaks of 3-Plus Games Every Season

Starting a program from scratch can be a difficult process that forces a team to take some lumps. That was not the case for Roosevelt when it launched as RMU Illinois. 

The first four-year class that came in as 2011 freshmen left the program having produced winning streaks of three or more games every season, including a run of eight straight in 2012 and a 6-0 start in 2014. 

Quarterback Carson Budke Threw 4-Plus Touchdowns in 2023 

Taking over as the Lakers' full-time quarterback in the third game of the 2023 season, Carson Budke erupted en route to 1st Team MFSA All-Midwest honors. Budke passed for 1,785 yards, most of which came over eight games, and tossed 19 touchdowns as a junior. 

Thirteen of Budke's touchdown passes came in dominant performances against Madonna, when he tied the program record with five scoring throws; and late in the season when he threw four touchdowns in consecutive weeks against Olivet Nazarene and Judson. 

Budke's strong finish to his first campaign quarterbacking the Lakers sets the foundation for Roosevelt's GLIAC debut. 

The Roosevelt Coaching Staff Has Ties to A D-II Dynasty and A Rose Bowl Championship 

Jared Williamson's young coaching staff isn't short on meaningful experience. Along with assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator C.J. Davis, who has factored prominently into the Lakers leadership through the end of its NAIA tenure, Roosevelt's 2024 staff includes Kaleb Borghardt and Blake Potash. 

Borghardt worked as a special-teams intern on the 2019 Rose Bowl-winning Ohio State Buckeyes staff, the last group in Columbus overseen by three-time FBS national championship winner Urban Meyer. 

Potash, Roosevelt's new co-special teams coordinator and defensive line coach, returns to the Div. II ranks after a stint at Valdosta State. Potash coached linebackers for the four-time NCAA Div. II national champion Valdosta State in 2022. 

Two-Sport Legend Bo Jackson Introduced Roosevelt's Renovated Facilities 

Who better to unveil an athletic program's ambitions of success across multiple sports than one of the greatest multiple-sport stars of all time? 

In 2013, when RMU Illinois introduced upgraded facilities that include the present-day Roosevelt Lakers' Arlington Heights football home, Morris Field, Bo Jackson was the guest of honor. 

Jackson's exploits in Major League Baseball with the Kansas City Royals and his otherworldly college football career at Auburn earned him status bordering on folk heroism. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner is a prominent fixture of the Chicago sports scene after his time with baseball's White Sox, operating a training facility for youth in Lockport to this day. 

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