Merv Baker was a five-sport athlete at Eastern Illinois University from 1936-40, participating in football, basketball, baseball, golf and track. He was a 13-time letterwinner as a Panther.

After his collegiate playing days ended, Merv spent time coaching at Findlay, Bradley and Dupo High Schools before moving back to Charleston in 1953 to coach baseball, basketball and football at Charleston High School. He eventually became the athletics director at Charleston High School where he concluded his coaching, teaching and administrative careers.

One of the last coaches in the state of Illinois to coach three major sports, Merv was named to the Illinois State High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in both basketball and football. He amassed over 500 wins in basketball and over 1,000 totals wins in all sports throughout his coaching career.

Merv was inducted into the Eastern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 for his on-field accomplishments as a Panther student athlete.


Walt Warmoth was a staunch booster of the Eastern Illinois athletics department by serving the campus community for over 40 years as an area businessman.

Starting in 1937 when he opened the Little Campus restaurant, Walt never lived more than 150 feet from the university except during the war years.

Because of a booming business he expanded his operation by opening a second restaurant, the Co-op in 1940, followed by the establishment of Walt's in 1953 and the Shortstop in 1965. During four plus decades he employed an endless number of Eastern Illinois University athletes who were in need of financial assistance, most prior to the existence of athletic scholarships. Among the many student-athletes he hired to work at his business was future Major League Baseball player, Marty Pattin.

His restaurants became the gathering place for students, faculty and townspeople alike to discuss Panther athletics and, for returning alumni, a time-honored assurance that some traditions remain unchanged.

In 1957-58 he was vice-president of the Alumni Association, and was a past member of the executive committee.

A 1932 graduate of Browns High School, Walt was a chemistry major as an Eastern Illinois University undergraduate and originally intended to become a physician. However, his decision to turn businessman had a lasting and positive effect on many Panther athletes. He was inducted into the Eastern Illinois University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982 for his positive contributions.