Anderson wins first-round Aussie match

MELBOURNE, Australia — Stan Wawrinka began defense of his Australian Open title with a 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 win against Turkey’s Marsel Ilhan.

Wawrinka was barely tested against the 100th-ranked Ilhan, striking 34 winners and saving the only two break points he faced.

Illini notebook: Small offers assistance in Dubai

CHAMPAIGN — Classes don’t resume at Illinois for more than a week. So, with his golfers spread far and wide during the break, Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small has some travel plans before the top-ranked Illini return to campus in preparation for the spring season.

Church leaves Illini for EIU

CHAMPAIGN — Devin Church wasn’t likely going to start at running back next season for Illinois given the return of Josh Ferguson.

But the redshirt sophomore was possibly in line for a backup role. Not anymore.

Multiple sources, along with Church’s Twitter account, confirmed Tuesday that the running back will transfer to Eastern Illinois.

N-G top stories of 2014: Death of a coaching legend

What moments, games and athletes will capture your attention in 2015? Before they do,
The News-Gazette sports staff takes a look back at 2014 and the top 10 stories from the year that was.

Flaws claims another soccer honor

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois soccer season ended the first full week of November with a 2-0 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament, but the postseason honors for Jannelle Flaws haven’t stopped.

UI roundup: Flaws finalist for national award

Jannelle Flaws’ 17 goals during the 2014 season ranked ninth in the nation and first in the Big Ten — even with Illinois women’s soccer making a quick postseason exit in the opening round of the Big Ten tournament.

Men's gymnastics adds four

CHAMPAIGN — Alex Diab, Johnny Jacobson, Blake Martin and Austin Lober recently signed letters of intent to join the Illinois men’s gymnastics team, coach Justin Spring said.

Diab, who attends Glenbard West High School, has been a member of the National Team. At the 2014 Junior Olympic Nationals, Diab placed first on still rings, second on floor and sixth in the all-around.

Who's That Illini? He built a dynasty

Illinois won it all in 1989 — thanks to this mover and shaker who still is Champaign.

Illinois coaching: Baseball, women's gymnastics add assistants

Spencer Allen first met Illinois head coach Dan Hartleb at the end of his playing career at Iowa State.

The Cyclones dropped their baseball program following the 2001 season, and Allen’s roommate Brandon Cashman transferred to Illinois and was Hartleb’s starting center fielder from Day 1 of the 2002 season.

FINE DINING: All UI athletes benefit from NCAA rule

CHAMPAIGN — The swanky Colonnades Club at Memorial Stadium hosts 1,000-plus Illinois football fans on Saturdays in the fall.

In the offseason, the calendar is crammed with wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners and private parties.