Nick Saban used the word “great” four times in his first sentence about Clemson at the college football national championship pregame press conference in Tampa.
But wouldn’t you rather have heard what the Alabama football coach confided with his staff as they began breaking down film in search of Clemson’s weaknesses in their staff meeting?
Josh Whitman didn’t have ‘Become Illinois athletic director’ as one of his 2016 New Year’s resolutions.
He was still employed at Washington University in St. Louis, serving as athletic director at the Division III school.
CHAMPAIGN — Seven Illini athletics programs claimed perfect Graduation Success Rate scores, as part of Tuesday’s GSR and Federal Graduation Rate reports released by the NCAA.
Illinois earned an overall GSR of 87, one point better than the record-tying national average for all Division I student-athletes.
MELBOURNE, Fla. — If any nerves were present Tuesday afternoon for the Parkland women’s soccer team, they weren’t evident.
Not early on. Not during the match. And certainly not after the match.
The Cobras, playing in their first NJCAA Division I national tournament match, breezed past Moraine Valley 4-0 in their opening pool-play bout.
Rod Lovett doesn’t want to get ahead of himself.
But by the time Saturday arrives, Lovett and the Parkland athletic department he oversees could enjoy a monumental moment. Or two. Or three.
The NJCAA Division I men’s soccer national championship match is slated for 6 p.m. on Saturday. Parkland could win that.
CHAMPAIGN — Parkland volleyball boasted one of the most difficult four-pronged attacks to handle most of this season in former area stars Laura Gross (Schlarman) and Taylor Bauer (Watseka) and sisters Sofi Kelemete and Fia Willis.
Both Parkland soccer teams can add to their postseason hauls Saturday. A week after each program won its first Region 24 title in school history, the women (16-1) host St. Charles (Mo.) Community College (10-4-3) at noon, while the men (20-1) welcome in St. Louis Community College (18-0-2) at 2 p.m. in two Central District championship matches in Champaign.
CHAMPAIGN — He told jokes. And stories. Lots and lots of stories.
On the eighth floor of the building he once dominated, Dick Butkus held court Thursday afternoon.
The iconic linebacker is the first member of Illinois’ newly announced Athletics Hall of Fame.
“I’m greatly humbled,” Butkus said at Memorial Stadium. “This is where it really started.”
Illinois football hitting the home stretch. The fall high school sports season hitting a postseason fever pitch. Illini basketball getting underway. Dick Butkus the inaugural member of the Illinois athletics Hall of Fame. And plenty of local interest in the World Series what with the Chicago Cubs making it for the first time in seven decades. Busy days ahead for The News-Gazette sports staff.
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois came out on the winning side of a five-set match in September at Purdue. Faced with another slugfest against the Boilermakers on Saturday, the No. 22 Illini couldn’t keep up the high level of execution they showed early as No. 24 Purdue rallied for a 14-25, 25-22, 19-25, 25-16, 25-11 victory.