A look at the people, place and things that have shaped Illinois.
Lovie Smith is beginning his second week of games as head coach for University of Illinois football. His first win came over Murray State, a score of 52-3. But this week Smith’s focus is on North Carolina and his own team. The new coach talks about his team improving each week as the season progresses. Smith has a cool confidence that I have never seen in an Illini football coach. He believes in his team, and wants them to play to the best of their ability. I see a leader here. A man who knows where he wants his team to go, and will do everything he can to get them there. It will be interesting to see how far he can take them.
Illinois advances to the next of NIT with the victory.
The University of Illinois is preparing to renovate the facility formerly known as Assembly Hall(State Farm Center). A renovation that is long overdue. A few years ago, the North end and West Side of Memorial Stadium was renovated. Hopefully, the South end and East side of the stadium will be upgraded soon. Several other athletic buildings have been built at the Champaign-Urbana campus as well over the last twenty years. A new facility needs to be built for Women’s Volleyball, Wrestling, Gymnastics, and the indoor Track and Field Teams. The Volleyball team has been a great success over the years, and was in the NCAA Final in 2011. The Wrestling team annually sends wrestlers to compete in the NCAA Tournament. The Men’s Gymnastics team won the NCAA Tournament in 2012. Along with the Women’s Gymnastics team, those three teams call Huff Hall pictured above home. Huff Hall is around 100 years old and needs to be replaced. Both the Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field won the Big Ten Indoor Meet. Yet both teams, have had to compete in the Armory another old building. Illinois must give these teams better facilities.
On Monday April 29, the University of Illinois announced that the State Farm Insurance Company has purchased the naming rights for the building formerly known as the Assembly Hall. The new name of the fifty year old structure will be the State Farm Center, effective immediately. The agreement is the largest corporate naming rights deal in college sports, at 60 million dollars for thirty years. The deal is very likely to be approved at the University’s Board of Trustees meeting in May. The 60 million dollars will be part of the $165 million restoration the building that is a multipurpose facility, but is best known throughout the country as a basketball arena. The building has been sorely in need of renovation for many years. When it was built there were not enough restrooms included in the design to deal with the capacity of patrons it could hold. But there are many people who are so in love with unique exterior of the building they have no concern over the function of the building. There are many people who are even complaining about the name change. Those people need to realize that if their treasured building is to remain a part of the University some changes have to made.