Memorial Stadium is a football stadium located in Champaign, Illinois, on the campus of
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The stadium is dedicated as a memorial
to the Illinois men and women who died in World War I and World War II. The primary
use of the stadium is to host the University's football intercollegiate athletics team.
Construction of Memorial Stadium
In the early 1920s, the old football stadium, Illinois Field, was deemed inadequate.
There was some sentiment for retaining the site, but it was too congested to expand the
stadium adequately, so a new site was selected, in a largely undeveloped area at the
south end of the campus.
Memorial Stadium was completed in 1923 at a cost of US$ 1.7 million. The name was
chosen in honor of the dead from World War I. The original construction was financed
with donations from University students, alumni, and others. At the time, the stadium
consisted of double-decked stands on the east and west sidelines. The single-decked
horseshoe around the south end zone was later completed, and temporary bleachers
stand in the north end zone.
- The football playing surface within the stadium is named Zuppke Field, in honor of
Robert Zuppke, the University of Illinois head football coach from 1913 to 1941.
- The north end of Zuppke Field hosts The Grange Rock, a tribute to Red Grange.
The tribute was dedicated on October 22, 1994, with Mrs. Margaret Grange, Red
Grange's wife, in attendance. The rock came from the same Indiana quarry that
produced the stadium's columns.
- The Ray Eliot Varsity Room is named for Ray Eliot, the University of Illinois head
football coach from 1942 to 1959.