The memories made at Memorial Stadium are ones Reilly O’Toole won’t soon forget.
But there’s another spot — away from the fanfare and football — where the former Illini quarterback and friends strung together a different kind of highlight reel.
Here’s O’Toole, a 2015 sports management grad now working as a sales rep in Oklahoma City:
“When I reflect on my time in Champaign, of course I think about all the times spent in the locker room with teammates, on the practice field and game field with the guys I have grown so close to over the years, and the countless laughs shared throughout my four years on campus.
“But the place that holds a special place in my mind and was a common place for many great memories is what we called the ‘Football House’ on the corner of Locust and Green Street.
“My first vivid memories started with some upperclassmen in the house, names like Corey Lewis, Supo Sanni and Mike Buchanan. As we continued our college career, Teddy Karras was the one that was the mainstay of the residence. Tony Durkin, Rob Bain, Zach Heath and more all had stints in the house.
“The reason I think of this house so fondly was because it was a common place where we all could come together. We would head over there play video games, hang out for hours, hold social gatherings, celebrate some wins and simply just relax for periods of time.
“The conversations about practice, impersonating coaches, stories that were told were all fantastic memories. It was great to have a place to come together as a group and bond.
“Shoutout to Teddy for holding down the football house for so long and being stuck with the daunted task of cleaning the place up time after time. Without him, we would not have built so many memories there and may not have had a place to all come together.”