As marketing and communications coordinator for the University of Illinois College of Engineering, Mike Koon helps publicize the stories and accolades from the fifth-ranked engineering school in the nation. A 19-year veteran analyst for Fighting Illini women’s basketball, he gives his insights for one the top up-and-coming coaches and programs in the sport. An avid IndyCar enthusiast, he has attended the last 27 Indianapolis 500s. A knowledgable high school football and basketball insider, he has been writing about and announcing high school sports since the 1980s. A talented announcer, Koon has served as public address announcer for Illinois football, men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and softball.
Koon joined the College of Engineering communications office in December 2012 after 14 years as a member of the Fighting Illini sports information office. He has served as the publicist for U of I women’s basketball, men’s golf, volleyball, softball, and women’s soccer.
An avid writer, Koon’s writing and publications have been recognized consistently by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), including a first in the nation for his biographical piece on former Illini coach Theresa Grentz.
Koon has a passion for voice work and has been using his voice to call sporting events since he was in single digits. A native of Monticello, Ill., Koon was known as the kid who roamed the sidelines doing “play-by-play” into his portable tape recorder and in high school as a play-by-play voice for the Sages’ football and basketball teams.
In addition, he has provided voice-overs for video boards at both basketball and football and was the narrator for “Seniors to Remember,” a DVD tribute to the Illinois careers of Illini greats Dee Brown and James Augustine.
Koon recruited, assigned and evaluated talent for Student U broadcasts of Illini events on the Big Ten Network and served as a liaison for the sports information office with the BTN. He has had an on-air presence on the Fighting Illini Insider show, including hosting the final episode of the 2008-09 season.
Koon graduated from North Central College in Naperville, Ill., in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communication/broadcasting and was hired as the college’s sports information director from 1993-98. He was honored with the Dissinger Award for Administrative Managers in 1995 as the college’s staff person of the year.
As a student at North Central, he served as assistant sports director and public relations director for the college’s award-winning radio station, WONC, where he was a regular on football and basketball broadcasts. He worked four years in the sports information office while spending three years as the sports editor for the NCC Chronicle.
Koon is actively involved in the community, as a mentor in the CU 1-to-1 mentor program.
He and his wife, Samantha, live in Monticello, and have a daughter, Stella.