Honorary Coaches Named for Spring Game

John Wright Sr. will be one of the six honorary coaches at Friday's Orange and Blue Spring Game.
John Wright Sr. will be one of the six honorary coaches at Friday's Orange and Blue Spring Game.

April 9, 2013

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced the six former Illini who will return to campus this weekend to serve as honorary coaches for the annual Orange and Blue Spring Game, which will be held at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 12, at Memorial Stadium. Illini greats Chuck Kogut, Tim Simpson, Bob Standring, Craig Swoope, Tavon Wilson and John Wright Sr. will lead the split squads.

Kogut was a three-year letter winner at linebacker for the Illini from 1971-73, finishing his career with 189 tackles and ranking third on the team in stops in both 1972 and '73. He had seven tackles for loss each in 1971 and '73, ending his career with 16 TFLs, while adding six fumbles recovered, five PBUs and three interceptions.

Simpson was an All-American guard in 1991 and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. He holds Illinois' record for career games started with 48, every game of his career. He also was named Illinois' Dike Eddleman Athlete of the Year in 1992. Simpson was a 12th-round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 1992 NFL Draft.

Standring lettered at safety for the Illini in 1973, totaling 14 tackles and one touchdown save on the season.

Swoope ranks third on Illinois' career interceptions list with 13 and his 25 passes broken up place him sixth on the career list. He earned second-team All-American honors in 1983 as he helped lead that squad to Illinois' first Rose Bowl appearance in 20 years. A four-time All-Big Ten selection, Swoope was a fourth-round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneeers in the 1986 NFL Draft and played five years in the NFL with the Bucs and the Indianapolis Colts.

Wright was a two-time All-American in 1966-67 and was a second-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1968 NFL Draft. He held nearly every receiving record at Illinois upon finishing his career and still ranks in the top 10 in most categories. Wright is fifth in career receptions, sixth in career receiving yardage and tied for seventh in career touchdown catches. His 12 100-yard receiving games are tied for second in Illinois history and his five 100-yard games in 1966 are tied for fourth.

Wilson was a second-round selection by the New England Patriots in the 2012 NFL Draft after earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors in 2010 and 2011. He finished his career eighth in school history with 22 PBUs and also totaled 214 tackles, 12.5 TFLs, and three interceptions. Wilson also started all 38 games of his final three seasons at Illinois and was a team captain in 2011, helping the Illini to consecutive bowl victories in the 2010 Texas Bowl and 2011 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl.

Prior to the spring game, former Illini players, coaches and staff will be welcomed back to campus with the 2013 Varsity "I" Football Barbecue Bash, while that group will be able to enjoy a golf outing at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana on Saturday.