1958 All-American receiver Rich Kreitling added his name to the list of Illini greats who will return for the Sept. 6 Illinois Renaissance Game.
July 25, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics officials announced Friday that Fighting Illini great Rich Kreitling will return to Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Renaissance Celebration Game against Eastern Illinois on Sept. 6. Kreitling joins linebacker Dana Howard, defensive tackle Joe Rutgens, quarterback Kurt Kittner and defensive back Craig Swoope on the list of legendary Illinois players who will be on hand for the 2008 home opener, when fans will get their first look at the newly finished stadium.
"I'm honored to be selected as one of the top 10 receivers at Illinois," Kreitling said. "It takes more than someone to catch the ball - that's easy. It takes the other 10 guys doing their job. It'll be very interesting and very good to get back and see everyone."
Kreitling was selected as one of the 10 greatest receivers in Memorial Stadium history as released by the DIA on May 15. A large number of the Fighting Illini greats already have indicated they will be returning to campus for the event and their names will be announced as the game draws near.
Kreitling was a first-team All-American in 1958 when he caught 23 passes for 688 yards, which ranked as the second-most receiving yards in school history at the time. He notched two 100-yard games in 1958, compiling 166 yards at Minnesota on Oct. 18 and 157 at Michigan on Nov. 8. Kreitling's 688 yards accounted for 55 percent of Illinois' total passing yards that season.
He also was a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 1958 and a second-team All-Big Ten pick in 1957. Kreitling became the second-highest drafted player in Illinois history at the time when he was selected by the Cleveland Browns with the 11th overall pick in the 1959 NFL Draft. He played six years in the NFL, five with the Browns and one with the Chicago Bears.
The Illinois Renaissance Celebration will be highlighted by the return of a multitude of former Fighting Illini players, with the list of 10 Greatest Illini in Memorial Stadium history at each position being honored during eight breaks throughout the game. The current team also will honor past greats by donning throwback uniforms modeled in the style of the Dick Butkus era. Illinois will take on Eastern Illinois Sept. 6 at 11 a.m. The game will be nationally televised by the Big Ten Network.