Dilger, Lingner Join Illinois Renaissance Celebration

Adam Lingner, OL, 1979-82
Adam Lingner, OL, 1979-82

Aug. 25, 2008

University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) officials announced today that Fighting Illini greats Ken Dilger and Adam Lingner will return to Champaign-Urbana for the Illinois Renaissance celebration game against Eastern Illinois Sept. 6. The pair join a long 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 am truly honored to be voted as one of the top 10 all-time receivers at Illinois," Dilger said. "With all the great players who have played in Memorial Stadium, it is a wonderful honor. I am so excited to come back to Memorial Stadium on Sept. 6 because this will actually be my first time back to Champaign to watch an Illini football game since I left in 1994."

Ken Dilger, TE, 1991-94

Dilger ranks third among Illini tight ends in career receiving yards and his 607 yards in 1994 ranks as the second-best season by a tight end in school history. Dilger also has a pair of games in the top 10 for yards by a tight end, catching six passes for 114 yards at Minnesota in 1994 and hauling in five passes for 78 yards against Penn State in 1994. He led the Illini to three bowl games in his four years as a letterwinner and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection in 1994. Dilger was a second-round draftee by Indianapolis in 1995 and played 10 years in the NFL, winning the 2002 Super Bowl with Tampa Bay.

"To play on the same field as many of the great Illini football players was a great honor," Lingner said. "To step on the field with them for this recognition is overwhelming. I am looking forward to getting back on the U of I campus, seeing my old teammates and meeting some of the heroes of my youth such as Illini great Dick Butkus."

Lingner was a four-year letterwinner as a long snapper from 1979-82 before being drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the 1983 NFL Draft. He played 13 years in the NFL - four with the Chiefs and nine with the Buffalo Bills - and played in four consecutive Super Bowls with the Bills.

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.

The growing list of Fighting Illini greats slated to attend the Sept. 6 Renaissance Celebration:

  • Dan Beaver, PK, 1973-76
  • Mike Bellamy, WR, 1988-89
  • Dick Butkus, LB, 1962-64
  • Mark Butkus, DT, 1980-83
  • J.C. Caroline, RB, 1953-54
  • Scott Davis, DE, 1983-87
  • Doug Dieken, TE, 1968-70
  • Ken Dilger, TE, 1991-94
  • Jim Grabowski, RB, 1963-65
  • Chris Green, DB, 1987-90
  • Kevin Hardy, LB, 1992-95
  • Dana Howard, LB, 1991-94
  • Jim Juriga, OG, 1982-85
  • Kurt Kittner, QB, 1998-2001
  • Rich Kreitling, WR, 1957-58
  • Adam Lingner, LS, 1979-82
  • Mike Martin, WR, 1980-82
  • Larry McCarren, C, 1970-72
  • Ed O'Bradovich, DL, 1959-60
  • Tommy O'Connell, QB, 1951-52
  • Joe Rutgens, DL, 1958-60
  • Tim Simpson, OG, 1988-91
  • Revie Sorey, OG, 1972-74
  • Craig Swoope, DB, 1982-85
  • Don Thorp, DL, 1980-83
  • Jack Trudeau, QB, 1983-85
  • Jason Verduzco, QB, 1989-92
  • Chris White, PK, 1983-85l
  • David Williams, WR, 1983-85
  • John Wright Sr., WR, 1965-67