Red Grange was a famed Illini football player, who on October 18, 1924, during a game against the University of Michigan, scored six touchdowns in the first 12 minutes. Nicknamed “The Galloping Ghost”, Grange went on to play in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and the New York Yankees. A charter member of both the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Grange was named the best college football player of all time by ESPN, and in 2011, he was named the Greatest Big Ten Icon by the Big Ten Network. Rumor has it that shortly after Red Grange’s death in 1991, his wife spread his ashes on the field!
Illini and visiting fans have been flocking to the statue for photos on game day since its inception in 2009. The 12-foot high bronze statue of Harold ‘Red’ Grange sits outside the west side of Memorial Stadium, and was created by sculptor George Lundeen, who earned a master’s degree in fine arts at Illinois in 1973.