DeKALB – Northern Illinois football senior Jordan Steckler credits his wife Allie Steckler for helping him to be a part of a particularly rewarding experience off the football field.
Allie Steckler, the therapeutic recreation coordinator for the Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association, helped Jordan and other Huskies athletes to be a part of programming for the organization’s activities. Allie has worked at the KSRA since December, and the pair have been married since June.
“They specifically work with people with a wide range of disabilities,” Jordan Steckler said. “It actually was really cool this summer. We were able to get them in contact with Wolfie [Director of Football Operations Dan Wolfe] and Coach [Thomas] Hammock and everything. They actually got a lot of guys to go over there in the summer to … play basketball with them or board games because they run a summer camp.”
Jordan Steckler has been a leader on the Northern Illinois offensive line. His name frequently is one of the first out of the mouths of Huskies players and coaches alike when questioned about leadership on the team, with most noting his quiet, lead-by-example demeanor as part of what sets him apart.
Steckler also is part of the Huskies’ 12-member leadership council.
“He’s a leader,” Hammock said. “He’s played a lot of football here. He’s done it the right way. Those are the guys that you want young guys to look up to try to emulate as far as doing things the right way.
Those leadership qualities shown on and off the field were validated when he was nominated as a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, the same award that Max Scharping was a finalist for last year as a senior. The award looks at criteria such as GPA and community service.
“It’s nice when you’re able to be recognized for what you do off the field too,” Jordan Steckler said. “We push academics here very hard, and we put a huge importance on it.”
With the KSRA, the impact that the children had on NIU athletes kept the athletes coming back for more opportunities to interact with them.
“Some teammates ... after we did that community service event ... actually reached out to her again like, ‘Hey, can I come back on my own time?’” Steckler said. “It’s been cool as far as that. Had a couple guys that enjoyed doing that enough to want to keep giving back.”
Huskies players’ commitment to service opportunities comes from the top down, with service emphasized by the coaches and athletic department.
“It’s one of the major things that we focus on outside of academics and performing on the field,” Jordan Steckler said.
The chances to be involved with local youth don’t stop with the KSRA as far as Jordan Steckler is concerned. One of his favorite activities to do through service is playing with kids at school fairs. Jordan Steckler laughed, remarking at the reactions some children have when they see how big the athletes are, especially him, as a 6-foot-5, 305-pound athlete.
“Some of the things I consistently did overall is I did a lot of fun fairs at the local elementary and middle schools,” Steckler said. “I always enjoy that all because it’s playing games with a bunch of kids, and they get excited.”
As much fun as Jordan Steckler has had in off-the-field opportunities, he is looking forward to a long-awaited honeymoon with Allie when the season ends and he graduates at the end of the semester.
“He’s a good young man,” NIU offensive line coach Daryl Agpalsa said. “He’s already married. He’s got his priorities in check, and he’s driven, and he’s got a goal in mind.”