Mike Thomas talks Assembly Hall

Mike Thomas talks Assembly Hall

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas provided an Assembly Hall update during a 1 p.m. news conference Thursday. Staff writer Julie Wurth was at the briefing and has the story here.

Also, basketball beat writer Marcus Jackson was weighing in here during the give-and-take.

Thomas also will discuss the Assembly Hall during a news conference Friday in Chicago. Staff writer Matt Daniels will provide updates there.

Earlier, we asked: What do you want Thomas to say?

Weigh in at our HQ Facebook page

Here are some comments so far:

"The court will be named in honor of Lou Henson"

"Just like when I arrived here, I will be blowing this thing up and starting over"

"We've decided to build new instead of renovate"

"I want you to know I intentionally tanked at Cincinnati so I could take this job when it came available"



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Matt wrote on March 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Dump the incompetent 560 WIND. Need to be on a station that understands how to cover sports. Should be at least a half hour of pre and post game.

If the money doesn't make sense with one of the bigger stations in Chicago then make the games FREE on line so people can listen on their computers or iphones. 


C in Champaign wrote on March 28, 2013 at 4:03 am

Ask yourself this question, would you rather spend $100 million dollars on a renovation of a building for the 14 or 15 games, only 3-5 of which are against real, worthwhile opponents, or would you rather have have $100 million in the bank to use to promote Illinois sports, say in Chicago, or provide funds for the non revenue teams? Or maybe even go out and spend on proven first choice coaches instead of mid major cinderella's? Memorial stadium is a great example. All that money, all those boxes for 5 games a year... And that got us what? Good practice facilities, and player accommodations I get, but boxes and luxury seats don't make games better, and don't make players better, or more likely to attend Illinois.

TheChiefLives wrote on March 28, 2013 at 7:03 am

I disagree.  This is not football.  This is basketball.  Completely different monster at Illinois.  You need to impress the recruits.  You need to get the students down closer to the floor.  You need to get those rich zombies out of 'A' section and into someplace where they can be quiet and boring without being noticed.

Dan Bloeme wrote on March 28, 2013 at 7:03 am

"Mike Thomas should say "I just want to say I'm batting .500 here at Illinois. I totally struck out with Beckman the Clown hire but I was right on the money with Bruce Weber firing.  I tend to polarize staff and fans so I'm warning you all to just watch out and keep out of my way"

urbanaman wrote on March 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

Not happy with the Bollant hire??

C in Champaign wrote on March 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

I am not suggesting that changes shouldn't be made. I am all for moving more students to the floor. In fact, I have said for years, that they should move the player tickets from the end of the court by the bench, to the seating across the court and make both ends of the floor student standing room only sections.

What I am saying is that there are ways to make the hall more exciting that don't cost $100 million. No amount of money is going to make the seats in "C" section, which holds more than 50% of the crowd, closer to the floor, and the price of tickets will only go up on top of that. so going to the game, and sitting in C will be even less of an option than it is now.

It is the atmosphere, not the building that impresses recruits. But I have to tell you, that if you have ever been in the building when it is empty, it can have a pretty insiping presence. For a number of years, Illinois was practically undefeated on the AH floor, and it wasn't because there were luxury boxes, or students wrapped around the floor, and the same "old fogies" were sitting in A... Good kids, good coaching, and good competition brings the good crowds and the atmoshpere, and the crowds and the atmosphere are what impress the recruits.

mankind wrote on March 28, 2013 at 9:03 am

"We've determined that just a few well-placed dynamite charges will bring down the dome quite nicely."

urbanaman wrote on March 28, 2013 at 10:03 am

should...say, "Can you give me a minute or two to see how my hires play out, you bunch of hayseeds?" Or words to that effect...

FloridaIllini wrote on March 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm

1.  Jim Delany has been institutionlized for his insane comment on the Big Ten becoming D3 

2. I made a great choice in both basketball coaches and 2 out of 3 ain't bad

3.  You fan are great loyal Illini but you are friggin delusional when it comes to our success in athletics

4.  The saucer is going to fly away and we will build a real basketball facility rather than keep our "all purpose" facility (read not good for any specific thing- especially basketball.

illini82 wrote on March 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm

What I want Thomas to say:

1. We're going to build a new basketball arena period. For another $30 to $50 million (over current renovations estimates) we can get a NEW dedicated facility rather than putting a square peg in an old round hole.

2. Yes, I screwed up royally on the Beckman hire. But Tressel said he was a great guy! Next time I'll actually interview the candidate IN PERSON!  And if Becky is as bad or worse this fall he's gone. And if the next FB coach I hire is a screw-up then I'M GONE!

3. Yes, it's time to get on a real radio station in Chicago. WGN, WBBM, WLS, the Score. Lots of options. We WILL get radio coverage in Chicago corrected!!

4. I'll have an open house and tour open to ALL I-Fund and/or FB season ticket holders for the 77 Club and Columnades Club in spring or summer.

5. I'll make the east side stands as nice as the west side in the great hall area.

6. I won't blindly say that adding Rutgers and Maryland to the B10 was a great idea.

7. We'll get a new dedicated Olympic sports venue built on campus which includes a 10 meter tower for diving and add men's swimming as a scholarship sport and add men's hockey too.

gregscott wrote on March 28, 2013 at 5:03 pm

I have acquired free tickets from work the last two seasons to two different games; free parking pass to boot.  Unfortunately the seats were 4 rows from the top; a 20-25 dollar seat.  Lousy place to watch a game.  125 feet in the air, and probably 80 feet from the courtside.  If I lived within a half hour drive the seats might be tolerable, but two hours from Assembly Hall, the seats aren't worth the gas money to drive there and back.  What really chaps my anus is all the empty seats in "A" section. {these were early non-conference games}  Im just griping, don't have any answers other than to save money for a "B"  section seat next time.


illiniphil85 wrote on March 29, 2013 at 8:03 am

Renovating AH is like putting lipstick on a pig. Great landmark. Lousy place to watch basketball.