Illini Year in Review: 2014-15 Month-by-month highlights

July 2014
Tom Michael left for Eastern Illinois and the chance to run his own athletic department after two-plus decades at Illinois, first as a basketball player for Lou Henson and later as an administrator.

Illini Year in Review: 2014-15

Top Male Athletes
1. Isaiah Martinez, wrestling. Only 10 wrestlers win a national title each year. Those who go undefeated doing so are a much smaller group, which Martinez joined in March.

2. Tyler Jay, baseball. The Big Ten Pitcher of the Year and No. 6 overall draft pick of the Minnesota Twins was one of the most dominant closers in the nation this spring.

UI roundup: Kendziera narrowly misses finals

EUGENE, Ore. — Illinois’ David Kendziera narrowly missed qualifying for the 400-meter hurdles final, clocking 49.57 seconds Friday at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

Johnny Dutch, competing unattached, had the fastest semifinal time, finishing in 48.90.

Illinois’ Dylan Lafond placed 20th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, finishing in 9 minutes, 5.07 seconds.

Richartz third in pole vault

EUGENE, Ore. — Illinois’ Stephanie Richartz placed third in the pole vault, clearing a Big Ten- and school-record 14 feet, 71/4 inches on Thursday at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Richartz earned All-America honors in the event for the second time outdoors. In 2013, Richartz placed sixth.

Illini Legends, Lists & Lores: Athletes of the Year

About this time of the year, the University of Illinois typically names its male and female athletes of the year.

On the men’s side of the ledger, the recipients date back to 1940 when football and baseball star Bill Hapac received the initial honor.

Urbana gymnast Nancy Thies was the first female honoree in 1977.

Gymnasts join women's squad

CHAMPAIGN — Women’s gymnasts Julia Hutcherson and Brielle Nguyen will join Illinois coach Kim Landrus’ roster this fall.

Hutcherson of Canton, Ga., was a five-time regional qualifier and finished in fifth place in the all-around at the Level 10 state meet.

Asmussen: Fictitious Hall of Fame a blast

I love sports. 

And I love movies/TV.

Thanks to Kirk Buchner, both my worlds collide. In a good way.

The Canadian-based Buchner is the owner/creator of the Fictitious Athlete Hall of Fame.

“It is a labor of love,” Buchner said.

Tate: Q&A with Mike Thomas

The role of an athletic director touches on an endless variety of issues. Moving into May, Mike Thomas provides an Illini update:


How has the success of the men’s spring teams impacted the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics?

Freshman keys softball split

EVANSTON — Freshman Kate Giddens earned her first career win, leading Illinois to a 9-8 victory against Northwestern on Wednesday in the second game of a softball doubleheader.

In the opener, Jess Perkins drove in five runs and hit a three-run home run, but the Illini lost 12-4 in five innings.

UI roundup: Men's golf dominates finale

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Illinois’ final tournament of the regular season was one of its most dominant of the spring. The third-ranked Illini shot 35-under par as a team in the three-round Boilermaker Invitational, beat runner-up Louisville by 32 strokes and had the four top individuals.