The Fighting Illini Caravan continued with their statewide tour Wednesday morning with a stop in Chicago at Howells and Hood restaurant followed by a late afternoon reception at The World of Beer in Evanston.
The month long tour consists of appearances made by athletic director, Mike Thomas; football head coach, Tim Beckman; men’s basketball head coach John Groce; women’s basketball coach, Matt Bollant, along with a host of other Illini coaches and student athletes.
Beckman spoke to CSNChicago.com about his expectations for the 2013 football team.
“Get better day by day,” said Beckman. “We’ve got a great staff that is involved with us in Champaign and we are excited about the way we moved for 15 straight practices.”
Beckman saw improvement in the young Illini team during this year’s spring game, with emphasis on the defensive line tackling in space. Beckman says that this team has come far, but still has a ways to go and is a challenge that his team is up for.
Groce’s progress with new team
With his first year of coaching the Illini men’s basketball team under his belt, Groce is proud to see how receptive this team has been to him and his style of coaching. Groce took over for former Illini head coach, Bruce Weber in 2012.
“As soon as I take over a team those guys are always my guys,” said Groce. “The way we treat them, the way that we coach them, the way that we work so hard to develop them that doesn’t change. We have a culture in the way we do things [that] we are very proud of. We know it can be affected to create a championship caliber program.”
Groce looks forward to working with the players in the summer where they can develop and continue to move the program forward.
The Fighting Illini Caravan will return to the Chicagoland area on Wednesday, May 15, with stops in Schaumburg and Crystal Lake before an evening reception in Rockford. To find out when the Illini Caravan will be near you visit fightingillini.com/caravan.