Tim Beckman wants to bring the Illini back to Chicago.
Illinois' head football coach told the Champaign News-Gazette's Matt Daniels on Friday that he would be all about his team playing another game in the Windy City after the Illini played Washington at Soldier Field last season.
“Would love to,” Beckman said. “I know there’s things that have to be settled. I’ve talked to (Illinois AD) Mike (Thomas) briefly about this. Again, we’re playing these things for our student-athletes. Just like bowl games, they’re experiences that reward the hard work. The experience of playing at Soldier Field is an unbelievable one for those kids. It was for me, too. I thought it was cool because I had never coached there, either.”
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That game last season was dubbed Illinois' "Chicago Homecoming" game, and 47,312 fans attended. It's the second Chicago game Illinois has played in the past four seasons, the other being the game against Northwestern at Wrigley Field, which had an attendance of 41,058. The Illini lost, 34-24, to Washington and won, 48-27, over Northwestern.
The Illini have a long tradition of playing games in Chicago, as the University of Chicago was a member of the Big Ten from 1896 to 1939. After the last game at the University of Chicago in 1939, Illinois didn't play here again until 1994, when the Illini lost to Washington State at Soldier Field.