Mike Tirico to host the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Gala



Former Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden and sportscaster Mike Tirico (right) joke at the Orange Bowl Coaches Luncheon in 2006. Tirico will host the Illinois Hall of Fame Gala.

By Tatiania Perry, Assistant sports editor

The inaugural University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Gala, a night to honor the first ever Illinois sports Hall of Fame class, announced its host Wednesday.

“The University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame Gala will be our signature event as we honor and recognize the greatest and brightest Fighting Illini athletes and coaches,” said Director of Athletics Josh Whitman in a press release.

Mike Tirico, a NBC sports personality, will moderate the night. After joining the NBC team in July 2016, he has worked several high profile events including the Olympics, NFL, horse racing and golf.

Before moving to NBC, Tirico had made a name for himself on ESPN and ABC as a sportscaster, making multiple appearances in the Champaign-Urbana area calling Illini football and basketball.

This ceremony is the first of its kind to celebrate the history of Illini Athletics.

Held at the Stanley Hall of the Field Museum of Natural History, the event will begin with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner and finally the main event.

“The inaugural Hall of Fame class is only the first of what will be an annual tradition of honoring the rich legacy of athletics on the Illinois campus,” Whitman said in a press release. “The gala offers an incredible opportunity for fans, supporters and alumni to mingle with some of our great Illini legends and to participate in a truly historic evening.”

The Hall of Fame class was officially released in February.

According to the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame website, the concept of an athletics Hall of Fame has been discussed for decades but never acted upon. The athletic department said it felt that the time worked well in conjunction with the University’s sesquicentennial celebration.

Members of the 28-person 2017 Hall of Fame class, as well as other notable former Illini athletes, coaches, administration and alumni, will be in attendance and participate in the program.

Tickets will be sold for $250 per person. The next Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held Sept. 30 in the State Farm Center.

“We hope the Illini nation will join us in large numbers for the celebration and will make the gala part of their annual summer calendars,” Whitman said in the press release.

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