Moments of the month

Moments of the month

July

There were hugs all around after Jeremiah Tilmon committed to John Groce and the Illini — just one step of many in what turned into a tumultuous recruitment.

August

Camp Rantoul, home to Illinois football training camp since 1998, hosted Illini soccer instead after Lovie Smith moved his first training camp as coach back to campus.

September

Call it the "Lovie Effect." A rare sellout crowd filled Memorial Stadium for a night game against North Carolina — even though it turned into a 25-point win for the Tar Heels.

October

Neither's season panned out as planned, but Illinois soccer (stronger finish) and volleyball (strong Big Ten start) both posted winning records for the month.

November

Both John Groce and Matt Bollant signed a top 45 player in the country in Jeremiah Tilmon and Channise Lewis, respectively. Bright moments for both basketball programs.

December

The Illini basketball programs were a combined 16-12 before the start of the new year. Neither program, though, played .500 ball in the 2017 portion of the 2016-17 season.

January

After 178 wins, six Sweet 16s and a national runner-up finish in 2011, Illinois volleyball coach Kevin Hambly left the program for defending national champion Stanford.

February

Lovie Smith signed his first recruiting class in charge of Illinois, which included 10 in-state high school players, a vast improvement over previous classes.

March

Josh Whitman finished off the Mike Thomas trifecta by letting go of Groce and Bollant a year after firing football coach Bill Cubit and hiring their replacements by the end of the month.

April

New men's basketball coach Brad Underwood made an early recruiting splash by landing Mr. Basketball winner Mark Smith and beating Michigan State and Duke in the process.

May

A sixth match play appearance since the format change in 2009 put Mike Small's Illini one ahead of Oklahoma State for most all-time in NCAA championships history.

June

Illinois' inaugural Hall of Fame class is honored in Chicago, while all-time winningest basketball coach Lou Henson is named as the first member and headliner for 2018.

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