CHAMPAIGN, IL—Memorial Stadium, on the campus of the University of Illinois, will have a new state-of-the-art FieldTurf surface installed prior to the 2008 NCAA football season. The announcement was jointly made by UI Director of Athletics Ron Guenther and FieldTurf Tarkett CEO Joe Fields. Memorial Stadium is one of the most venerable and historic venues in all of college football and has previously been nominated to become a national historic landmark
FieldTurf’s latest-and-greatest monofilament system will be installed at Memorial Stadium. The new surface will officially debut on September 6 when the Illini host Eastern Illinois in their 2008 home opener. Illinois will become the fifth Big Ten team to have FieldTurf at their football stadium, joining Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin.
“We are very pleased to work with FieldTurf, the industry leader, for the installation of the new playing surface at Memorial Stadium.” said Guenther.
“It’s truly an honor to be associated with such an historic facility as Memorial Stadium,” said Fields. “From Red Grange through last year’s Rose Bowl squad, there is a great tradition at Memorial Stadium and FieldTurf is proud to now be a part of it. About half of the Big Ten now plays its home games on FieldTurf so the new surface will provide some consistency for Coach (Ron) Zook and his players. More importantly, the Illini players will now be playing on the artificial turf that registers the highest marks in safety and playability in the world today.”
This marks the second significant FieldTurf installation at the University of Illinois. Illinois Field, the home of the Illini’s baseball team, had FieldTurf installed in 2008.
Memorial Stadium has been the home of the Illinois football teams since its opening in 1923. It was designed by the same architects who created Chicago’s Soldier Field, the home of the NFL’s Bears. It was originally built as a memorial to Illinois men and women who gave their lives to their country in World War I.