Northwestern Illinois Football

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman and his wife hope donated $100,000 to the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Center, a football complex on the east side of Memorial Stadium.

CHAMPAIGN — University of Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman and his wife, Hope, have pledged $100,000 to the construction of the Henry Dale and Betty Smith Center, the new training facility for Illini football.

The gift will name a corridor in the building recognizing all former letterwinners as the Josh and Hope Whitman Alumni Hall.

"Hope and I are making this gift to solidify our personal commitment, both financially and emotionally, to this transformative project and the benefits it will provide for our student-athletes and our program," Whitman said. "As a former player, I feel especially committed to ensuring all letterwinners feel welcome and connected to this program.”

Whitman was a four-year starting tight end for Illinois from 1997-2000 and two-time first team Academic All-American. Whitman has two Illinois degrees, graduating with Bronze Tablet honors in 2001 while earning a bachelor's degree in finance, and again in 2008 when he graduated summa cum laude from the Illinois College of Law.

The Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center is set to be completed in July. It will be a 107,650-square-foot facility adjoining the south end of the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility.

The $80 million performance center will feature new and expanded strength and conditioning and sports medicine space, coaches' offices, position meeting rooms, player development areas, locker rooms and other areas for recruiting and prospect hosting.

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