‘Zook Zone’ towels ready for football season

By Meghan Montemurro

The Pittsburgh Steelers are known for their Terrible Towel, and now Illinois fans will have the opportunity to purchase their own version for the upcoming 2008 football season.

The bright orange towel, printed with the phrase “Zook Zone”, was spearheaded by University of Illinois football coach Ron Zook and the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“The fans are pouring out to fill the seats in Memorial Stadium and that means a great deal to our football program,” Zook said in a press release. “The towel will not only help us fight a disease that touches all of us in our daily life, but also help us create a game day atmosphere like none other in the Big Ten.”

The towels go on sale July 1 and can be purchased for $7 at either the Green Street and Springfield Avenue Gameday Spirit locations. Zook said for each towel sold, $1 will go towards the fight against cancer.

Cory Shumard, manager of the 519 E. Green St. location for Gameday Spirit said the majority of the money raised will be contributed to Coaches Against Cancer.

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Last season, four of the six home games at Memorial Stadium were sold out for the first time since 1986. The towel is being introduced in order to promote a strong, energetic crowd and home field advantage.

Football tickets have been gobbled up by Illini fans for the upcoming season. The horseshoe section sold out in 45 minutes and more than 5,000 student tickets have been sold.

All six home games are projected to sell out.

Shumard anticipates thousands of towels will be sold prior to the Illini’s home opener against Eastern Illinois on Sept. 6.

“First and foremost it’s for a great cause,” Shumard said of the Zook Zone towel. “When you think what potentially that scene could look like at Memorial Stadium, just picture a sold out game, everybody waving one of these towels; it’s kind of one of those goose bump moments. I think it could be a very intimidating environment for opponents.”