CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Former Illinois football offensive lineman and athletics director Ron Guenther will serve as the honorary captain for the Fighting Illini’s Thursday night game against Chattanooga. Guenther will officially be inducted into the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday at 6 pm CT inside State Farm Center.
Guenther played football for the Illini from 1964-66 as an offensive lineman, earning team MVP, Second-Team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten honors in 1966. He went on to serve as interim Athletics Director at Illinois in 1988, then was named permanent AD from 1992 to 2011, when he retired from the University.
Major projects under his watch included the Memorial Stadium Renaissance, Eichelberger Field for softball, the Bielfeldt Athletics Administration Building, the Demirjian Golf Facility, the Kahn Outdoor Tennis Complex, the Atkins Tennis Center, the UI Outdoor Track and Field Stadium, the Irwin Indoor Football Practice Facility, the Irwin Academic Center and the Ubben Basketball Practice Facility. During his tenure, Illinois captured 34 Big Ten Championships, made a men’s basketball Final Four and made six football bowl appearances, including the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl. Guenther was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.
Guenther continued to work with the Big Ten Conference as a consultant after his AD career. He currently resides in Champaign.