April 2002

After rough first year, Wilson having fun on the court

   URBANA -  He was a star athlete in high school, a tennis ace and a basketball standout, a bright-smiling, outgoing beach boy named, of all things, Brian Wilson.

   Then he left it all behind. Bailed out on San Diego to play his college tennis in the less predictable climes of central Illinois.


UI´s Mazurek saves the day

   When the Illinois baseball team needed him most, Dave Mazurek slammed the door on Eastern Illinois.

   Called on in the eighth inning with no outs, runners on first and third and a one-run lead, Mazurek induced a double place and a groundout as the Illini won 5-4 Tuesday in Charleston. Mazurek struck out two and walked two in two innings, picking up his fourth save of the season.


Aides give UI softball a behind-the-scenes boost

   URBANA  Mike Larabee and Donna DiBiase have played softball, and they''ve coached the game at the high school level.

   Now they are lending their expertise to coach Terri Sullivan''s softball staff as assistants at Illinois. DiBiase was one of the initial hires when Sullivan became the first UI varsity softball head coach in summer 1999.


Cardinal can´t find many cons about being a pro player

   The only thing that separates Brian Cardinal from the rest of his Detroit Pistons teammates is the clothes he wears come game time.

   He practices just as hard. He sweats just as much. And he''s just as vocal as Jerry Stackhouse or Cliff Robinson.


Walk-on managing nicely in attempt to make Illini

   CHAMPAIGN  If they do a movie about Nick Pankey''s college football career, it won''t be called The Waterboy. Adam Sandler already took that one. But The Manager will work.

   Like Sandler''s Bobby Boucher, Pankey is trying to go from the sideline to the field. The Herscher native worked last fall as a student manager: running errands, picking up blocking bags and making sure the players had a steady supply of footballs.


Tate: Jones, Illinois keep coming back for more

   CHAMPAIGN  Hey, Itch, are you giving any thought to retirement?

Yes, the 12th-year Illini baseball coach quipped, in the third inning when we couldn''t get anybody out and Michigan was building a 9-2 lead.


League honor to Dickinson

   Illinois senior Andy Dickinson, who threw the first shutout of his collegiate career last weekend, was named Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week on Monday.

   The award was the Illini senior''s second of the season and third of his career. Dickinson shared the honor with Michigan''s Rich Hill.


Hardy happy to have home

   When Kevin Hardy visited the Dallas Cowboys last week, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer took him into a room and flipped on some films from last season. Zimmer described all the ways he wanted to use Hardy as an outside linebacker whose main job is to rush the quarterback.

   The former Illini star liked the ideas so much that he was willing to sign a one-year deal with an option for four more that''s based mostly on if his surgically repaired right knee is strong enough for him to return to Pro Bowl form.


Rally against Michigan a building block for Illinois

   CHAMPAIGN  It might have been the bleakest point of Illinois'' baseball season.

   Losers of seven of their first 11 Big Ten games and one day removed from a disheartening doubleheader loss to Michigan, the Illini trailed the Wolverines 9-2 just 3 ? innings into Sunday''s series finale at Illinois Field.


Illini go distance in tennis

   The Illinois women''s tennis team was down several times Sunday against second-place Wisconsin.

   But in the end, the Illini  on the strength of yet another come-from-behind victory from junior Michelle Webb  pulled out a 4-3 Big Ten victory at Atkins Tennis Center.