Coach Weber and the Illini will kick off the 2007-08 season with Illini Madness on Friday, Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. at the Assembly Hall.
Aug. 24, 2007
Champaign, Ill. - The Illinois men's basketball program is the nation's winningest team over the last four seasons with 112 victories. Illini Head Coach Bruce Weber, whose work in the fight against cancer earned him the 2007 Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award, will use the strong platform Illinois basketball enjoys to bring cancer awareness to the national forefront once again.
Illini Madness, the first Fighting Illini basketball practice of the 2007-08 season, is scheduled for 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12 at the Assembly Hall. The event will feature the first men's basketball scrimmage, a shooting contest involving both the men's and women's teams, and a dunk contest.
The twist on this year's event is a $7 Fighting Illini basketball T-shirt that serves as the "ticket" into Illini Madness as well as a long-term keepsake for Illinois fans. A $2 contribution will be made to Coaches vs. Cancer for each shirt sold. In addition, by filling Assembly Hall with pink Illinois basketball T-shirts, it will create a unique photo that should put the national spotlight on the ongoing fight against cancer.
"We want to use the success our basketball program has enjoyed for a greater good," Weber said. "We are humbled by the outstanding support of our fan base and optimistic that our fans will take this opportunity to join us in the fight against cancer."
Scott Burnsmier runs Coaches vs. Cancer for the Champaign branch of the American Cancer Society. Burnsmier said this year's Illini Madness event will have a strong positive impact.
"Illini Madness broadens the relationship between the team and Fighting Illini fans," Burnsmier said. "The exposure that this year's event creates will also give people better knowledge of Coaches vs. Cancer and our fight against this dreaded disease."
Gameday Spirit is creating the T-shirts for the event. T-shirts will be available at both the Green Street and Springfield Avenue Gameday Spirit locations beginning Monday. They will also be available at the first three Illini home football games (Sept. 8 vs. Western Illinois, Sept. 29 vs. Penn State, and Oct. 6 vs. Wisconsin) at Gameday Spirit souvenir stands located around Memorial Stadium.
"This is a one-time event that will set a very high national standard and be challenging to duplicate," said Assistant Director of Athletics Chris Hanna. "We would not be able to pull off an event of this magnitude without the success of Coach Weber and the men's basketball program, Coach's commitment to the fight against cancer, and our incredible Fighting Illini basketball fan base."