When I first joined The Champaign Room as a contributor almost two years ago, I thought I was starting an interesting, new hobby that bridged my passion for Illinois athletics with my fellow orange and blue die-hards.
What I didn’t see coming was the impact the site (and its editor, Stephen Cohn) would have on me after just 22 months. Fast forward a few semesters, one major change, and tens of thousands of words later, I’m writing one of my biggest stories yet — my own.
If you happened to catch our “Why I’m An Illini Fan” series of articles last season, you know my Illini roots run deep. As a 6-year old, the late Wayne McClain gave me one of the greatest experiences of my young life. Back when Midnight Madness was still a thing and fans packed Assembly Hall to get their first look at the year’s basketball team, my family and I were regular attendees. Illinois was hot off its NCAA Championship run, Dee was back, James Augustine was back, and expectations were high throughout the fanbase. McClain took me down into the locker room and I was fortunate enough to get a pennant signed by the team and my No. 11 jersey inked by the man himself.
I’ve been an Illini ever since.
I didn’t have many expectations when I applied for TCR. I thought it would be a fun opportunity to showcase the basketball knowledge I’ve accrued after years of living, breathing, and eating the sport. Now I have to say, I had gone in to my freshman year of college with the hopes of coaching one day. I saw that door closing quickly, so I opted for another route. I was enjoying my role with the site and wanted to take things a step further.
I spent the last season covering the highs and lows of the football team, the basketball team, and some volleyball too. I’ve had a blast, traveling all over the state following our favorite programs. And I couldn’t be happier to do it for the next few years!
That being said, I’m officially taking over as Site Manager here at The Champaign Room! I want to congratulate Mr. Cohn on a tremendous couple of years with the site and on his new position as a producer at WISC-TV in Madison, Wisconsin. I can’t thank him enough for his insight and patience. But don’t worry, he’ll still be hanging around, jumping on the podcast, and writing columns here and there.
I’m looking forward to my tenure with the site and the memorable moments in Illinois Athletics history that will define it. Whether it be NCAA Tournament berths, future NBA lottery picks, bowl games, star-studded freshmen, volleyball sell-outs, or anything in between, I hope you all continue to turn to the blog to give you the best coverage of the Illini from fans, for fans.
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