Men's gymnasts ranked sixth

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ men’s gymnastics team was ranked sixth in the College Gymnastics Association’s Preseason Coaches Poll that was released Tuesday.

The Illini, who return 12 letter winners, received 285 points and one first-place vote.

Sunday Conversation: Paul Kowalczyk

Paul Kowalczyk was named Illinois’ interim athletic director on Monday. Staff writer Scott Richey caught up with Kowalczyk on Wednesday, less than 48 hours into his new job, to discuss what’s next for Illinois athletics, his previous stops at Southern Illinois and Colorado State, life as a Cleveland Browns fan and craft beer:

UI roundup: Small, Hartleb add athletes

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small added four players to the 2016 roster on Wednesday: Bryan Baumgarten, Michael Feagles, Ryoto Furuya and Giovanni Tadiotto.

They signed national letters of intent to play for Small’s squad.

Kowalczyk takes it day by day

CHAMPAIGN — “Whirlwind” was the word that came to mind for Illinois interim athletic director Paul Kowalczyk to describe the last 48 hours. Five days’ notice really didn’t give him a head start on his new duties. Not when he wouldn’t officially take the reins of the job until Monday’s announcement of Mike Thomas’ termination.

Tate: George might be perfect match

There are matches made in heaven ... Mike Krzyzewski and Duke, Urban Meyer and Ohio State ... or if you prefer, Bill and Hillary, Johnny Cash and June Carter — who else could have sung “Jackson”? — and don’t forget Stiller and Meara.

Congratulate Michigan’s Wolverines. They had one objective above all others, and they landed him: Jim Harbaugh. Another match made in heaven.

Guide to Thomas firing, UI athletics investigation

Plenty was said, done and released to the public Monday when Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas was fired and the school released the findings of Franczek Radelet's investigation into the school's football and women's basketball programs. A look at everything from The News-Gazette surrounding the situation:

Paul Kowalczyk 'right person for the time'

CHAMPAIGN — Taking a cue from Illinois basketball coach John Groce’s approach to the instability of his roster due to injuries, Paul Kowalczyk is approaching his new position as if he’s simply the next man up.

“When you’re asked to step up, you step up, and I felt like it was an obligation and a duty to the university,” Kowalczyk said.

Who might be next full-time athletic director?

Who will be the next full-time University of Illinois athletic director after Mike Thomas' ouster Monday? Here are five possibilities, all with past UI ties:

Rick George
Ex-Illini football player and staffer is the current AD at Colorado and would be a popular pick.

Asmussen: Why fire Thomas now?

CHAMPAIGN — Heard from Mike Thomas early Monday afternoon.

I asked him for an interview, but he declined. Politely. Always politely.

“Hi Bob,” Thomas texted. “I appreciate the opportunity to visit, but will let you visit with my friends.

“Thanks for your great coverage of UI and best of luck in the future.”

LIVE: AD fired

WDWS and WHMS are carrying live today's news conference. Listen here.

Bill Cubit might have the interim tag attached to his title as head coach. But all he sees is the "head coach" part and he expects the interim tag to be removed.