Illini football and Northwestern football now have the same slogan



Northwestern football and Illini football are big time rivals. So how did they end up with pretty much the same motivational slogan? Sounds pretty funny doesn’t it? Two in-state rivals with mutual acrimony have the same exact mantra?

This offseason, Illini football coach Tim Beckman introduced a new catch-phrase for the program.

“Whatever is Necessary.” or “W.I.N.” is the new slogan Tim Beckman will use to motivate/lead Illinois Fighting Illini football in 2013. Or actually, it’s W.I.N.T. whatever is necessary today. That sounds familiar. I’ve heard it somewhere before, but…..


Somewhere very very close?

I think….It’s another Big Ten coach.


Ah yes, that’s right- W.I.N. “What’s Important Now” has been on the walls of the Northwestern football media/meeting room for many years. According to Northwestern Director of Digital and Social Communications Doug Meffley, the phrase goes back to at least early Pat Fitzgerald era (Fitz took over in 2006) or Fitz’s predecessor, Randy Walker. So NU and Pat Fitzgerald has been using this acronym for at least five or six years at minimum.

Tim Beckman took over the Illini football program in December 2011. He rolled out his version of the phrase a couple months ago. Naturally, I had to ask about this at Big Ten Media Day. Here’s the Q&A. Which explains how Illini football ended up with it:

Q. “Where did you come up with the WIN acronym slogan because it’s the same one that Northwestern’s been using for a few years?”

COACH BECKMAN: “We’ve always — I don’t know when Northwestern did. We used that back at Bowling Green defensively. We always did it. For us, it means whatever’s needed, we added today to it. So it’s WIN today. Only worry about one thing at a time, that’s day-by-day. We’re going to do whatever is necessary for us to be successful that day.

If that means being a student and sitting in the first two rows of your class, that’s what that means. We’re going to make ourselves better as a student, as an athlete, football player, and as a citizen. So that’s what the term means for us.”

So that’s the story of the Illini football coach. We’ll see who gets the win, and therefore deserves to keep the “w.i.n.” November 30th when the two teams play in Champaign.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan, he also writes on Chicago sports media for Chicago Now. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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