10 Illini we're going to miss

10 Illini we're going to miss

We'll miss these pieces

Al Martindale is retiring after 29 years as director of sports medicine and head athletic trainer at Illinois. Here are 10 other Illini we will be sad to see go:

Dennis Nevolo, men's tennis

After a senior season in which Nevolo won a personal-record 30-plus singles matches, coach Brad Dancer acknowledged the Gurnee product leaves "huge shoes to fill"

Whitney Mercilus, football

During the first appearance with the Texans, the Houston Chronicle described him as a "chatty, personable player;" You'll love him like we did, Houston

Vic Koenning, football

North Carolina got a gem in the former defensive coordinator, whose stellar schemes were outdone only by his sharp one-liners ("We need every oar in the water")

Paul Ruggeri, men's gymnastics

Well-rounded redshirt senior tied C.J. Maestas for team-high 20 individual titles during Illini's historic run to first NCAA gymnastics title since 1989

Wayne McClain, men's basketball

State basketball legend — claimed three IHSA state titles and helped Illinois to an NCAA runner-up — bridged three Illini head coaches (Kruger, Self, Weber)

Luke Guthrie, men's golf

Look for Illini golf's lone senior — yes, Mike Small's bunch will be an NCAA contender again in 2013 — to turn pro shortly after NCAA Championships that start Tuesday

Meyers Leonard, men's basketball

Pre-NBA draft process well under way for Robinson's finest, who is training in New York prior to the June 28 draft — while, of course, attending the occasional Mets game

Colleen Ward, volleyball

Kevin Hambly earned a contract extension in February; If only the stud coach could extend the career of the senior outside hitter — the program's fifth first-team All-American

Andrew Riley, men's track and field

Jamaica-born hurdler never lost in his signature event during the indoor season; Former NCAA champion hurdler also was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year

Kelsey Joannides, women's gymnastics

Senior became first two-time Big Ten champion at Illinois after winning the league's beam title — and teammates took notice, selecting her as team MVP


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