CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and the University of Illinois Alumni Association have partnered to launch the Fighting Illini Tailgate Tour, a seven-city barnstorm around the state in May and June.

Officials said the Tour will feature coaches, student-athletes and administrators in tailgate-themed, family-friendly events. The events are free to all fans and alumni.

“For nearly two years, we have been limited in our ability to get out and meet Illinois fans and alumni where they live,” Director of Athletics Josh Whitman said. “It is time to get back on the road and provide opportunities for our coaches to interact with fans in a meaningful way. Illini fans, especially in the state, are incredibly passionate and loyal, but we are taking our engagement to another level in order to grow our fan base back to its most fervent level.”

Each event will begin at 5 p.m. with a social hour filled with food, drink, games, photo booths and giveaways. At around 6 p.m., fans will be able to hear from the coaches recapping the 2021-22 seasons and previewing future plans. The event is open to the public.

Officials stated, “The Fighting Illini Tailgate Tour gives all Illini fans and alumni a chance to get out and meet their favorite coaches, review the exciting accomplishments of 2022 and preview the upcoming year in Fighting Illini sports.”

Details about each event can be found here.

2022 Fighting Illini Tailgate Tour Schedule

Wed., May 18      Aurora

Tues., May 24      Springfield

Wed., May 25      Quad Cities

Thurs. May 26     Belleville

Tues. June 7         Rockford

Tues., June 14      Winnetka

Thurs., June 16    Peoria


The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will also partner with the Cubs, White Sox and Cardinals to host Illini Night this summer.

Officials said each night will feature a special theme ticket and co-branded giveaway.

Illinois coaches and student-athletes will be in attendance to celebrate and host pregame activities.

  • Illini Night at Cubs (vs. Diamondbacks) – May 19 — 6:40 pm CT first pitch                 
  • Illini Night at White Sox (vs. Red Sox) – May 25 — 7:10 pm CT first pitch
  • Illini Night at Cardinals (vs. Cubs) – Aug. 3 — 6:45 pm CT first pitch

*pregame party at 4 p.m. at Brickhouse Tavern