Saturday, September 06, 2008

Book Tour, Day #4

The University of Illinois has been renovating Memorial Stadium, and today was the opening day. A big deal for Illini fans. Memorial is the place that Red Grange made famous with his outstanding performance on dedication day in 1924 so that is why I was here. (If you are not a regular reader of In The Fray, Red Grange is the subject of my just-released book.)

So this morning I went to Memorial at about 8 a.m. with John Carroll, a Grange historian.

Although I am not a big fan of luxury boxes, Illinois did a nice job with the renovation, and it really celebrates its history with banners and photos and other memorabilia. I haven't been back to Champaign-Urbana since I was researching The Galloping Ghost and reporting an article for the New York Times on the great midwestern football stadiums. Memorial is really a masterpiece of brickwork and I think the University of Illinois did a good job in its renovation; they preserved the stadiums qualities without tricking it up too much.

We were interviewed on the WDWS pre-game show. The hosts-- Jim Turpin and Loren Tate--were terrific. (Click here for the interview. We had a really nice chat about Grange for about 12 minutes but, unfortunately, they don't have it all on-line.)

Then we watched the game in University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman's suite. (Grange is still very popular in C-U, as you can probably guess.) Chancellor Herman penned a nice write-up of my book, too.

Sitting in the luxury box was very nice and I am thankful for the experience, and it was interesting to get a glimpse into the world of college boosters...

Post-game, we went to the Alice Campbell Alumni Center. Carroll and I talked about Grange and we signed a few dozen books.

It was a great way to end the first leg of the tour. Special thanks to Charlie Finn who escorted us around all day, and Lynn Chaney who organized the reading. In the next two weeks, I will be on sports radio shows, and I will be talking at Village Books (Pacific Palisades, CA; October 16); the Tattered Cover (Denver, Colorado; November 19); Varsity Letters (New York; December 4).


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