Fighting Illini Day
The latest passenger on the Illinois basketball bandwagon is none other than Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich who proclaimed today Fighting Illini Day
. Despite the obvious attempt of a politician to ride on the coattails of a popular sports team, the honor is well-deserved.
The Governor’s proclamation reads as follows: WHEREAS, the 2004/2005 season for the University of Illinois Men’s Basketball team is one to remember. Earning the country’s number one ranking after upsetting Wake Forest in the season’s fifth game, the Fighting Illini played their entire campaign at a level that most teams can only dream of; and
WHEREAS, after defeating all but one team they faced during the regular season, the Fighting Illini entered the Big Ten Tournament, and on March 13, 2005, they beat Wisconsin 54-43 to become Big Ten Champions; and
WHEREAS, now officially the premier team in their conference, the Illini set their sights on the NCAA Tournament, where they would continue their winning ways. After defeating Farleigh Dickinson in the Tournament’s first round, Nevada in the second round, Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the Sweet 16, and Arizona in the Elite Eight, the Fighting Illini made it to the coveted Final Four; and
WHEREAS, on April 2, 2005, Illinois defeated Louisville in their Final Four match-up by a score of 72-57. This victory marked a significant milestone for the Illini, as never before in school history had they made it to the Championship Game; and
WHEREAS, the Fighting Illini finished their 2004/2005 campaign just one win short of a national title. Their overall record of 37 wins, paired with just two 2 losses, ties an all-time NCAA record for most wins in a season; and
WHEREAS, because of his hard work and tremendous leadership, Bruce Weber, Head Coach of the Fighting Illini, was named by the Associated Press as Coach of the Year; and
WHEREAS, this State is extremely proud of Coach Weber and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini Men’s Basketball Team for their exquisite season, their tremendous post-season and for their all-around efforts to become one of the elite college basketball teams in the United States. This celebration today is a gesture of congratulations and gratitude to the Fighting Illini and everyone who was involved in the great success they achieved this year:
THEREFORE, I, Rod Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim Tuesday, April 5, 2005 as FIGHTING ILLINI DAY in Illinois, and encourage all citizens to join in “Painting the State Orange” in recognition of the University of Illinois Men’s Basketball team, and their stellar and truly memorable 2004/2005 season.