Lovie Smith, Josh Whitman Give Updates on $80m Facilities Plan (Audio)


On Friday, Illinois football unveiled their $80 million plans to upgrade their facilities. The ambitious project includes a brand-new 107,650 square foot Illinois Football Performance Center to be constructed next to the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility, and adjacent to Memorial Stadium.

That’s the immediate short-term project. In the longer term, phase 2 seeks to expand Memorial Stadium’s south and east grand stands. Construction on the new practice facility will break ground early next year, with a projected completion in time for the start of the 2019 college football season.

illini football facility upgrade

Today was B1G Media Day and this is what Lovie Smith had to say when he was asked about the facilities upgrade plans and how they can impact recruiting moving forward.

“Recruiting-wise, what I was saying, a year on the job, is that especially in the summer, most guys now, they go on a campus tour. They have different stops along the way, making comparisons.

“And right now, of course, when you don’t have a lot of players right now that are just coming to our place based on facilities, but we feel like we’re evening up that playing field an awful lot. And what we’re talking about, meeting rooms, the latest and greatest in technology, new weight facility, you know, all of these things, when you have the latest and the greatest, that has to be a positive, maybe mentally in the players’ eyes a little bit, but for us we know we have an awful lot to offer the University of Illinois.”

illini football lovie smith

“But having facilities that are as good as everyone else should help, and I know it will.”

If you’re really interested in more details of the project, the artist renderings, floor plans, etc. All that and more can be found at the Illinois Renaissance website. Once he was done with his ballroom session at Media Day, Lovie Smith did a media scrum Q&A outside and again the topic of facilities came up.

Athletic Director Josh Whitman did a Q&A as well, and as one would expect, the facilities upgrade plans were the main discussion topic.  We have audio from both of those sessions, as well as some audio with Lovie Smith during his B1G Media Day podium sessions below.

illini football facilities

Josh Whitman audio:

Lovie Smith media scrum at B1G Media Day

Lovie Smith podium session Part 1

Lovie Smith podium session Part 2

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV

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