The Henry Dale and Betty Smith Football Center is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s 107,650-square-foot football facility adjoining the south end of the Irwin Indoor Practice Facility. It features expanded strength and conditioning and sports medicine space, player development areas, and other spaces for recruiting and prospect hosting.
The Center also houses the Levenick Auditorium, a nutrition center, fueling stations, a grand lobby displaying Illinois’ football history, and a players’ lounge complete with a game room and barber shop.
The purpose of the Smith Football Center is to demonstrate an institutional commitment to building, supporting, and sustaining a winning football program. For fans of the Fighting Illini, this world-class structure is a call to action for strong seasons ahead.
Two years after the facility opened in 2019, the Illini’s head coach Bret Bielema made history in his first season when Illinois played Penn State for nine overtimes in University Park, Pennsylvania. It was the first – and only– nine-overtime college football game, and the Illini came out on top with a 20-18 victory against the No. 7-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.
I cannot say for certain that this triumph was made possible by the Smith Football Center’s innovative amenities, but it was great to build something transformational for Illinois sports. All Clayco asks in return is to keep a winning game ball!