Hoyord headed for Hall of Fame
I-S grad played at UW-Eau Claire
By Holly Neumann
An Iola-Scandinavia High School graduate will be inducted into the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jay Hoyord is one of six former UW-Eau Claire athletes to join the Blugold Hall of Fame Friday, Oct. 5, in Eau Claire.
Hoyord, a 1997 I-S graduate who played defensive back for the UW-Eau Claire football team, was also recognized as an honorary captain at a recent Thunderbirds football game.
He was a four-sport athlete in high school, earning all-conference honors in football and basketball and winning a state long jump championship in track.
Football, however, was always Hoyord’s favorite sport.
“I loved it at a very young age,” he said. “I loved watching my older brothers and even playing in the backyard, so when they asked to honor me at a game, I was quite surprised,” he said. “This really meant a lot to me.”
Hoyord’s son, Isaiah, a freshman on this year’s I-S team, presented his dad with a football prior to the game.
“Having my son on the team was pretty emotional,” Hoyord said. “Sharing that moment with him made the evening that much more special.”
Hoyord credited I-S football coach Scott Erickson for some of his accomplishments.
“He was very influential in my athletic career,” he said. “He taught be about the game, but also taught me the value of being a student-athlete. Learning how to be a student came first and athletics came second. That was something I was able to carry with me going into my college career.”
Hoyord was surprised to be chosen for the Blugold Hall of Fame.
“I was shocked when I found out I was nominated,” he said. “There are a lot of good athletes that have gone to school there. When I got that call that I was selected, it was a complete surprise.”
Hoyord made 324 tackles in 43 college games, including 13 behind the line of scrimmage. He broke up 40 passes, intercepted 14, forced three fumbles and recovered five. He scored a touchdown on a blocked punt in the end zone and also scored on an 81-yard interception return and a 78-yard fumble return.
He made the all-conference first team in 2001 conference after earning second-team honors during his sophomore and junior seasons.
Hoyord led the team in tackles in 2000 and 2001 and recognized as a Hewlett-Packard second-team All-American and a Football Gazette third-team All-American. A two-time team captain and defensive MVP as a senior, Hoyord was the first Blugold ever selected for the Aztec Bowl, a battle of Division III All-Stars from the United States against a Mexican National Team in Mexico. He blocked a punt in the 2001, which the United States won.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from,” Hoyord said. “If you work hard at whatever you do, success will come. Keep working hard, put in the time and effort and good things happen. Always remember home. This community helped me through my journey and they will help you through yours.”
Hoyord graduated from UW-Eau Claire in 2001 with a MIS degree and is director of data services for Sentry Insurance in Stevens Point.
He and his wife Kristen, and their children, Isaiah, Gavin, and Addyson, in Iola.
After the Oct. 5 induction, Hoyord will ride in the and Homecoming parade Saturday, Oct. 6, before being introduced at halftime of the Blugolds’ game against UW-Stevens Point.
Tickets for the induction banquet are $25 and can be obtained by contacting the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association at 715-836-3266 or email@example.com.