Illini legends, lists and lore: Defensive debuts

As a longtime defensive specialist, new Illinois football coach Lovie Smith would love to see his team throw a shutout in Saturday’s season opener against Murray State. However, in Illinois history, that’s only happened three times over the last 50 years in opening games.

Top of the Morning, Aug. 17, 2016

In his 50 remarkable years at The News-Gazette, Loren Tate figures he’s written 13,000 columns. That’s a ton of “Tatelines.”

Illini legends, lists and lore: Lowell Spurgeon

Sunday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of 1930s Fighting Illini star Lowell Spurgeon. The childhood idol of Dike Eddleman in Centralia, Spurgeon won 12 letters for the Orphans from 1931-34. He was a three-time all-state selection in football and similarly honored twice in basketball.

Coaches take advantage of new bylaw

CHAMPAIGN — Retweet. Like. Share.

All new actions for coaching staffs and athletic departments to utilize as of midnight Monday. That’s when the new NCAA bylaw officially went into effect, allowing head coaches, assistants, recruiting coordinators or, really, any athletic department staff member to retweet a recruit’s tweet, like a photo on Instagram or share a post off Facebook.

Tate: Delany showing few downsides

CHICAGO — It is not the personal plan of 68-year-old Jim Delany to be on hand ­— so he says — when the Big Ten’s new six-year media rights deal (reported at $2.64 billion) runs out in 2023.

“I have a lot of energy and interest,” he said Tuesday at the league’s annual media days event, “but six years is probably beyond where I see it.

Sunday Conversation: Howard Milton

A part of the Illinois athletic department since 2001, Howard Milton last week was named Illinois’ senior associate director of athletics for development. He spent the previous 11 years as a development officer, helping oversee Illinois’ Renaissance project of the $169.5 million renovation of State Farm Center.

More in store for Martinez

CHAMPAIGN — Isaiah Martinez took what he said was his first real break in three years after winning his first NCAA title in 2015.

The Lemoore, Calif., native and rising Illinois redshirt junior traveled plenty, working wrestling camps across the country, but put his own training on the back burner.

Martinez is still hitting the camp circuit this summer.

Tate: Big Ten TV success envy of college world

Due to a series of hopefully nonrecurring problems, the UI athletic department was splashing red ink when Josh Whitman took the reins in early March.

Tate: Whitman's good calls behind the scenes as well

Does anyone still believe the once-popular speculation that Josh Whitman, who’ll turn 38 on Aug. 5, was too young for the complex job as UI athletic director?

So far, if you’ll allow a film comparison, he’s been the administrative equivalent of Robert Redford in “The Natural.” He was born for this job.

2016 Illinois Year in Review

Each Month's Top Moment

Former Illini point guard Dee Brown begins his new job as special assistant to then-athletic director Mike Thomas, putting a familiar face at the front of the DIA.