March 12 preps chat

March 12 preps chat

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 12:30pm

Fred Kroner, our longtime prep sports coordinator, takes questions at 12:30 p.m. each Tuesday. Let him have it.

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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It's that time again for our weekly chat, which we will actually start on time today. Looking forward to the questions. Let's go!

Tom Egelston wrote on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Fred,do you know what is the latest happenings in the Okaw Conf?I see Ramsey who retired at Cenral A&M now has taken the Head Job at Shelbyville Replacing Wienke who left. Lot of changes with coaches and teams what do you think is going on?

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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Hi Tom. As I recall, Mark Ramsey had resigned at A&M, or at least had said he was going to, and shortly thereafter had a change of heart, but was told it was too late. I think it was clear from the outset he wasn't finished coaching. The question would be what openings would occur and whether he'd take a break for a year or so before returning. I'm not surprised to see him getting back in it. As for Stan Wienke, I've heard he wants to focus on family and his health and I know as I grow older, those seem like two pretty important priorities. He has said he won't be getting back into it, and I suspect that will be the case. He might have a limited role somewhere at some future point in time, but I doubt if you will see him back as the person in charge anywhere.

Golden Bear wrote on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Mr Kroner

I'm curious as to who Central is looking at to replace Scott Davis. They got a guy out of Milford for football. Is that the same direction they'll take for basketball?

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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Hi Golden Bear. I've given that a lot of thought since I talked with Scott Davis on Monday about his resignation. I have one name in mind that I think would be an excellent choice. Please understand, this is my opinion and I haven't even talked to the person to see if he would be interested, but I'm guessing he would be. I think Sean Taylor would be an ideal fit. He is a Rantoul native who grew up around the Big 12 Conference. He is a well established coach, winning a state championship at Shelbyville in 1996. He has been at Quincy for the last decade. Many folks would consider Quincy one of the state's top 10 basketball coaching jobs. I would counter by saying if Champaign Central is not in the top 10, it doesn't miss the cut by much. Central was the first school nationally with at least 1,000 documented wins in boys' basketball and 500 documented wins in football. It has tradition and prestige. I know that Taylor and his family are huge Illini fans and attend many home games each year. He still has family in the area and I think it might be important to him to be closer (distance-wise) to them. There are a lot of good reasons why he would make a great candidate. Obviously, there could be any number of others. There are a few who come to mind. I don't want to discount anyone from the current staff, but in my mind, the next head coach would be someone who has already been a head coach somewhere, if not in high school, then at least at the AAU level. Throwing a few names out there -- without any knowledge of their interest -- how about Joel Beesley? The former Urbana Uni High coach has a sophomore son in the Central program and more youngsters on the way. What about Verdell Jones II? He has been involved with AAU teams as his son was rising up the ranks and has a good record. Could Jeff Finke be a possibility? With two sons at Centennial, this might be more of a long shot, but he not only coaches the thriving Peoria Irish AAU team, but guided Champaign Franklin (basically a feeder school for Central) to second place in the IESA state tournament. Obviously, he is interested in coaching. The question is would the timing be right? You mentioned the coach hired from Milford (Nate Albaugh) for football. If that route was pursued, perhaps consideration could go to Scot Vogel, currently the Paxton-Buckley-Loda coach. He had a stint on staff as an assistant at Danville before winding up at PBL, so he has some large-school experience and would have an idea what he is getting into. These are a few names. There are probably dozens of others that haven't even crossed my mind. Would Nate Mast want to return to his alma mater? It's just a year after he left Parkland for a college shot, but who knows? How about Monticello's Kevin Roy? He has done a good job with the Sages and might be intrigued by another challenge. How about a guy who lives locally and has fantastic name recognition, like Sean Harrington? It would mean less air time on the Big Ten Network, but you know he is a basketball guy. Speaking of Milford, the Bearcats have a Hall of Fame coach in John Spezia. He coach a national championship team at Danville Area Community College and knows about turning around programs. How about Sergio McClain, or even Wayne McClain, if he has grown weary of the demands of college coaching? Some of these names will probably raise a snicker, but they all have something in common: they could do the job.

dennis bialas wrote on March 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Who are best HS FB prospects for 2014 in the state of Illinois? Could you name the top 5 in Chicago and the top 5 in central and downstate Illinois? Realistically who do the Illinois have a chance at successfully recruiting to the U of I?

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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Hi Dennis. I checked in with our recruiting guru, staff writer Matt Daniels, for help on this one. I don't keep track of recruiting like a lot of folks. There's one name that's not a longshot. On Monday, the Illini received a verbal commitment from Nick Allegretti, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound center from Class 7A state runner-up Lincoln-Way East. As for others, a few from the suburbs could be linebacker Clifton Garrett, from Plainfield South, linebacker Nyles Morga, from Crete-Monee, running back Justin Jackson, from Glenbard North, and quarterback Clayton Thorson, from Wheaton North. As for the central Illinois athletes, Danville's Trent Sherfield already has an offer from Illinois State University. He's one who could see his stock rise. He plays quarterback and in the secondary for the Vikings. I would imagine he's a defensive back or receiver in college, though he could certainly fit in as a quarterback at some smaller schools. Chatham Glenwood has a tight end (Daniel Helm) and Jacksonville has an offensive lineman (Blake Hance) who could be recruited. Thanks to Matt Daniels for his contributions here!

Tom Egelston wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Fred,do you know what happened after the Seton Academy- Harrisburg Championship Game Saturday? I saw that the Head Coach for Seton and one player just took their medals put them in their pocket and left not colllecting their 2 n'd. place trophy.I saw the game and there was problems with officiating in the game and Seton's star player ejected from the Game early with 2 Technicals.

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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Hi Tom. I can't believe I am the only person with "old-fashioned" views and values who truly feels it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. The conduct at the Class 2A boys' basketball finals was exceptionally poor. I get so tired of hearing the harping about officials. If you're a player, adjust to the calls that are made early. Don't continue doing the things that led to the first or second foul. If you're a coach, realize the officials want the same thing as you do: for the players to decide the game. The refs are there to make sure things don't get out of control. Some days they are more successful than others. Some days a player who is 10-for-12 from the field is more successful than on a night he was 4-for-19. You will never find a game where every coach is going to agree with every call. That doesn't excuse childish conduct and behavior,. raising tantrums, throwing medals or refusing to accept a state trophy. When you watch a game on TV, it's not always possible to see all the things that have happened that lead to a bigger event, such as a foul call, or a technical foul call. There should be a clear code of conduct. Adults should act like adults, whether the call is in their favor or not. The players should stick to playing the game and not encouraging the fans to start or continue a tirade. There's plenty of blame to go around in the 2A finals. We can only hope it will serve as a lesson learned. Sportsmanship should be emphasized above all else. Coaches, take a stand at the first day of practice. Let it be known that poor behavior and conduct will result in a spot on the bench or removal from the team, even if you are a major-college prospect. Administrators, monitor your coaches. Make them understand they are role models and need to be held at a higher standard. They set the tone. Don't be afraid to discipline a coach -- or get rid of a coach -- who can't be accepting of the requirements. Fans, realize your embarassing actions are a reflection on your school and your community just as outstanding sportsmanship is also a reflection on your school and your community.

westcoast wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Just curious, what makes you say the Central boys basketball job is a Top 10 or almost Top 10 job statewide?  Just interetest in your take, not that I necessarily disagree (although I am a little surprised).  I've lived for at least 10 years each in Champaign, Chicago (actual city) and a Chicago suburb.  When I was in Champaign, neither Central nor Centennial were strong in basketball or football nor did they have great attendance, but I notice that's changed.  (I now live out of state).  I just would not have guessed Central would be considered such a top job.  Tell us your thinking.


By the way, thanks for your work on local sports.  Your knowledge base and committment are great.


 

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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That's a fair question. I base my thoughts on perceptions over a period of time. What schools and what programs are historically strong over a period of decades? As I mentioned, Champaign High (Central) was the first school in the country with 1,000 documented wins in boys' basketball and 500 wins in football. I'm not looking strictly at what has happened lately.

Basketball has been king at Quincy, at Collinsville, at Centralia, at Lincoln. If you're a young coach, aspiring to a "dream job," I would think any of those schools would fit the bill as defined by their tradition and reputation over a long period of time.

Lawrenceville and Chrisman had long and prominent runs for decades. I think Champaign High (Central) would be in the conversation. There are probably several dozen schools that could make a valid point to be included on such a top 10 list. Maybe Champaign High (Central) doesn't make it, but I think the school should at least be considered based on its legacy over 100-plus years.

anonomous user wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Fred -


Even though the weather hasn't cooperated yet, it is the spring season for high school sports.  Who do you think are the best teams in the area with the talent returning from last year's teams?

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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I have Spring Fever, but I haven't yet gotten into the details about the spring sports season. Still too much to finish up with the winter sports and them them wrapped up nicely. Certainly you have to start with programs that have been strong lately and feel like they will again be in the mix. St. Joseph-Ogden will be good in softball. Tuscola baseball will be one to contend with. Danville girls' track and field is on a cycle of good athletes right now. Mahomet-Seymour boys will be strong in track. Centennial and St. Thomas More soccer will likely have banner seasons. I'm sure the picture will start to become much clearer very soon.

Anonymous User wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Fred do you know who is in line for the Arcola Football Job?

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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I haven't heard, but there was talk of a possible co-op for football, which I found surprising. I think Arcola has a very talented group of young athletes, so I think this will be a program on the rise and one that will be stable over the next several years.

Softball Fan wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm

High School softball season is just getting started.  Can you tell us which teams and players you think will excel this year?

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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Several players come immediately to mind. I look for good things from Fisher's Kalli Gosser and Georgetown-Ridge Farm's Brittany Hay this spring. Mahomet-Seymour has a strong group of veteran players, including Allie Tarrant and Jessica Roberts. St. Joseph-Ogden's cast will be a good one, starting with catcher Mickaela Fleming. Tuscola has its battery back with Erin Walker and Amber Miller. Lea Hall is a junior at Schlarman who has been a varsity fixture since she was a freshman. I don't think there's any shortage of talent in the area this spring in softball. for all appearances, it will be a banner year.

Fred Kroner wrote on March 12, 2013 at 1:03 pm
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Thanks to all for the questions. We will take next week off, as I will be at the junior college national basketball tournament at Danville all week, but we will be back to chat more in two weeks, on March 26. Thanks again to all who participated.