May 23, 2007 - Midwest League (MWL) - Peoria Chiefs
Peoria, IL- The Peoria Chiefs will welcome University of Illinois Head Basketball Coach Bruce Weber and Assistant Coach Wayne McClain and various players to O\'Brien Field on Friday night when the Chiefs take on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers at 6:30 PM. Friday will be the 2nd annual Illini night at O\'Brien Field and Grammy Award winner Sylvia McNair will perform the National Anthem.
Coach Weber, Coach McClain and the players will hold a press conference in the third floor Administration room at O\'Brien Field at 4:45 PM. They will also sign autographs from 5:30-6:00 PM on the concourse, as well as throw out a ceremonial first pitch prior to the game.
The Chiefs will wear custom Illini jersey\'s during the game that will be auctioned off throughout the game. The jerseys are orange with ILLINOIS spelled out on the front in white and the numbers on the front are also while with navy blue trim. The sleeves are white with a Chiefs logo on the left sleeve and a "Power I" Illinois logo on the right sleeve. The Chiefs players jerseys and special Illinois jerseys (#31, #33, #41, #55) will be auctioned off during the game in silent auction format. Manager Ryne Sandberg\'s jersey, and a #07 Bruce Weber signed jersey will be auctioned off live following the game. All of the proceeds will benefit the Louis and Dawn Weber Student Management Enrichment Fund at the University of Illinois.
Weber is entering his fifth season at the helm of the Illinois basketball program after four of the most successful years in the program\'s history. Weber is a remarkable 112-28 at Illinois as well as 48-16 in Big 10 play. He has made an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in each of his first four seasons with three trips to the Sweet 16 and an appearance in the 2005 National Championship game. This past season the Fighting Illini fell to Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA tournament as a 12 seed. Prior to coming to Illinois in 2003, he spent five seasons as the head coach at Southern Illinois where he also made two tournament appearances as well as a Sweet 16 run in 2002.
McClain, a Peoria native, spent 18 seasons as an assistant coach at Peoria Manual High School before taking over the head coaching spot in 1995. He was part of four consecutive State Championships, one as an assistant and three as the head coach. He joined the University of Illinois coaching staff in 2002.
Sylvia McNair will perform the National Anthem prior to the 6:30 PM game. Ms. McNair has made over 70 recordings ranging from classical to Broadway Musicals. Ms. McNair performed the Anthem at this season\'s Illinois-Indiana basketball game in Bloomington, IN.
A native of Mansfield, Ohio, McNair earned a Masters degree from the Indiana University School of Music and has received honorary doctorates from Westminster College and IU. She is currently on the voice faculty at IU\'s Jacobs School of Music. She won a Grammy Award in 1986 for The Echoing Air and also sang on the 1994 Grammy Award winning recording of Handel\'s Semele. She has performed in Operas all over the world including Vienna, Salzburg, London, San Francisco and New York. She is also a frequent guest soloist with major European and American orchestras.
The ZOOperstars will also be on hand during Friday night\'s game providing pre-game as well as in-game entertainment. The stars that will be on hand include: Deion Salamanders, Peyton Manatee, Clammy Sosa, Dennis Frogman and Harry Canary.