Jenna Passman Regan and Tim Regan met in 2000 when Jenna was a freshman middle blocker on the volleyball team and Tim was a sophomore defender on the soccer team.
The two completed successful collegiate careers, culminating in an induction to the Bradley Hall of Fame. Now married with kids, the prestigious Charles Orsborne Award winners and First-Team MVC Scholar-Athletes are back in Peoria again, ready to make their mark.
Tim currently serves as an assistant coach for the Bradley soccer team and Jenna is a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.
Tim played with multiple MLS teams including Toronto FC and Chicago Fire and became a scout with Toronto following his retirement. Since then, he’s transitioned into coaching. Jenna was right there with him along the way.
“We have done a circle of the Eastern United States since we were done playing at Bradley,” Jenna said.
That tour has seen stops in North Carolina, Indiana, Missouri and now Illinois. Along the way, Tim has been involved in soccer as a player, professional scout and coach. Jenna earned her PhD in biochemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“It’s a challenge finding a place that can handle both people and make sure you have a job,” Tim said. “We have two children and this worked out well [in Peoria] because the College of Medicine needed someone with a science background to help teach.”
Another essential part of returning to Peoria was provided by 23rd year Bradley soccer head coach Jim DeRose, who was Tim’s coach when he attended Bradley. Tim said the soccer program with DeRose at the helm developed him for a cutthroat professional world.
“A professional [soccer career] is not very forgiving, and one in which you have to be ready to be able to handle anything. Nothing shocks you,” Tim said. “That’s the way the program has always been run in terms of the personalities of the players and coaches. What [my teammates and I] learned here under Jim DeRose prepared us for success in anything we want.”
During Tim’s collegiate career, he earned placement on the All MVC-Centennial Team and MVC Defensive Player of the Year in 2002 before being drafted in the second round of the 2003 MLS SuperDraft.
On the court, Jenna earned First-Team All MVC in 2002 and 2003. She is one of three Braves to earn MVC Scholar-Athlete First-Team three times. Jenna holds the single-season school record for block assists (152) and total blocks (171), which she set during her sophomore season. She also holds program records for career attack percentage (.317) and blocks per match (3.94).
She said she is unaware that she still holds records and does not focus on her collegiate awards often.
“[The Charles Orsborne Award] is not a field honor, it’s a total honor,” Jenna said. “It defines what it means to be a great student-athlete. The role you play when you walk through campus and the role you play on the court or field is equally important. It’s a real nice honor to receive.”
Nowadays, Jenna is a member of the Varsity Club, which works to reconnect athletic alumni to Bradley’s campus and raise money for student-athlete tutoring through the 50/50 program at men’s basketball games. She said she has a healthy relationship with the volleyball program but no longer talks strategy.
“I was given the opportunity to be on the Varsity Club board when we moved back. I think they wanted Tim,” Jenna said with a chuckle.
She also attends Bradley athletic events when possible with the couple’s two children, but the couple does not pressure them towards playing sports.
“I’m in and out of [Renaissance Coliseum] because our kids run around here on their vacation days. I’m not allowed to bring them into work and Tim is,” Jenna said. “There were all these jokes when we got married that we were going to sign them to a letter of intent when they were born.”
That letter of intent hasn’t been signed yet.
“It’s not that they are unathletic, they just don’t show a strong affinity for sports,” Tim said. “We err on the side of keeping them out of that environment longer than some families would. Getting involved in organized sports at age six does not lead to success in college. There’s a lot of steps in between, they will find what they find.”
For now, Micah, 9-years-old, sometimes helps out at soccer practice, and 6-year-old Brynne is perfectly content playing on the sidelines with her various toys.
Success on the pitch and court were important to the Regans; however, they don’t dwell on the recognition and have moved on with life.
“[Being named to the Hall of Fame] brought fond memories,” Tim said. “It’s not like you walk around talking about it or celebrate it in any way. It’s appreciated in terms of people seeing the efforts you put in as a student-athlete and how it affected your team and that era. You only get nominated because you showed that you can be really beneficial to your team and the Bradley athletic department.”