Mike Durkin will be one of the many to receive his 1975 Big Ten Championship ring on Saturday.
Jan. 19, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Over 60 former Illinois men and women's track and field athletes will have a reunion this Saturday at the Colonnades Club in Memorial Stadium. Included in the reunion will be the honoring of the 1975 Big Ten outdoor championship men's track and field team coached by Gary Wieneke. The post-meet celebration will begin at 6 pm CT with the ring ceremony following shortly afterwards.
"What an honor for us to have our alumni return this weekend," head coach Mike Turk said. "We have an outstanding tradition in the sport of track and field here at the University of Illinois headlined by many of the people that will be here this weekend. I'm excited to see the 1975 team gather and receive their championship rings. Their passion and enthusiasm for the University of Illinois is only overshadowed by the bonds and camaraderie they share with each other. It is a remarkable thing to witness."
The team is filled with numerous Olympians, World, NCAA and Big Ten individual champions, including Olympians Mike Durkin, and Charlton Ehizuelen along with two-time world champion Craig Virgin. The 1975 squad etched its way into the record books, being the 23rd Illinois team to win an outdoor conference championship.
There will be a plethora of talent on the women side including head women's track and field coach Tonja Buford-Bailey, a 25-time Big Ten champion as well as Connie Johnson, a 1970 individual national intercollegiate track and field high jump champion. Two-time All-Region cross country runner and current undergraduate assistant coach Chantelle Groenewoud will also be attending.
"It's exciting to be able to have some of our alumni come back to watch the current Illini compete," Buford-Bailey said. "With the likes of Connie Johnson and Tiffany Nesfield coming all the way from Maryland and a number of alumni from the men's team, I expect it to be a great event."